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Boston's Best Veterans Day Events

(Photo credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Boston was the site of the first battles to make veterans out of soldiers of the United States. Every year, the city celebrates the men and women who have fought in wars both at home and in foreign lands. Celebrations range from solemn ceremonies to respect the dead to vibrant community affairs that raise awareness of veterans' issues. There is no need to stay at home doing nothing, as there is an event for every age group, whether a family has a veteran among them or is simply appreciative of the hard work they have put in since the dawn of the United States. 

Veterans Day Parade
Corner of Boylston St. and Tremont St.
Boston Common
Boston, MA 02108

Date: Nov. 11, 2013 at 1 p.m.

The Veterans Day Parade in Boston features a lot of local military groups, such as veterans groups, military units, honorary units and marching bands. There will be some local vendors and there are numerous restaurants nearby. Guests can expect to see many different uniforms going by as the parade progresses. There will also be Color Guard and other formal detachments, making it a great opportunity to teach children about ranks, formation and the significance of flags.

Veterans for Peace Parade
Corner of Boylston St. and Tremont St.
Boston Common
Boston, MA 02108
(314) 725-6005

Date: Nov. 11, 2013 following the Veterans Day parade

The official parade marches by before a second parade follows along close behind. The controversial Veterans for Peace organization, who has a mission to teach about the price society pays to fight wars, puts on this parade. The participants are war veterans of the U.S. They are three minutes behind the end of the official parade and have a police escort.

Volunteering for Veterans
New England Center for Homeless Veterans
17 Court St.
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 371-1800

Date: Nov. 11, 2013 open 24 hours

The New England Center for Homeless Veterans uses volunteers to serve more 250 homeless veterans every day. Volunteers arrive to serve the meals at 11:15 a.m. for lunch and 4:15 p.m. for dinner. Volunteers must register with the organization, so call ahead of time or go online to the website to fill out the form. Remember, this organization serves veterans every day all year long, so it can use help any time people can give it. This is a great opportunity to meet with veterans and give them a hot meal to enjoy on a day that is likely to be chilly.

Related: Beverly's New Home for Homeless Veterans Offers Hope

Stars, Stripes & Swing
Hotel Commonwealth, 2nd Floor
500 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 933-5000

Date: Nov. 11, 2013 at 8 p.m.

Stars, Stripes & Swing is a night of dancing, drinks and snacks put on by Thirst Boston. The event is a benefit for the USO as well as a celebration of Veterans Day. Dance back to a time when Veterans Day was still called Armistice Day and most of the world's veterans fought in World War I. This is taking place at a luxury hotel, so get dressed up in the fashion of the time. It is a wonderful excuse to bring back some of the style we know and love from one of the greatest times in U.S. history.

Beer Summit Harvest Fest
Park Plaza Castle
130 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 457-2281

Date: Nov. 8 and 9, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. both days with an additional event at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 9

Celebrate most of the weekend with the Beer Summit Harvest Fest. Bring a veteran and buy him or her some beer. There are more than 200 craft beers for sampling, so come thirsty. Beers at the Summit Harvest Fest come from local brewers and brewers all over the world. It may not fall on Veterans Day, but it is best to contain this kind of revelry to Veterans Day weekend.

Related: Volunteers Help Homeless Vets at New England Center for Homeless Veterans

Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at

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