WESTFIELD — In the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic, something will be missing from Veterans Day observances in both Westfield and Southwick today.
In Westfield, the Veterans Day parade is back, though one key participant won’t be there. Participants will gather at the Westfield Bank parking lot on Chapel Street at 10:30 a.m. The parade route ends at Elizabeth Parker Memorial Park on Silver Street, where the annual Veterans Day ceremony will take place at 11 a.m.
At 12:30 p.m., a plaque will be unveiled at City Hall, 59 Court St., in honor of American Legion Post 454, which recently closed its doors for the last time. Bob Ragon of Post 454 said during the scaled-down 2020 ceremony that the Legion post would not be around as a group to celebrate another Veterans Day.
He attributed the then-imminent closure to the death in 2019 and 2020 of several post members due to age and COVID-19. Richard J. Trusty, who died in May 2020, was a founding member of the post whose only wish was for Post 454 to make it to 70 years. To honor his wish, the post wasn’t officially closed until 2021.
In Southwick, there won’t be any parade, although Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 872, which organizes the observance, hopes to bring back the parade in 2022. Southwick will instead mark the holiday with a 15-minute ceremony with no parade on the Town Common. It will feature the posting of the colors, a 21-gun salute, taps, and the retiring of the colors. There is not expected to be a guest speaker or band at this year’s ceremony in Southwick.