A Veterans’ Day Ceremony to Remember


Veteran’s Day 2021 parade aerial view Photo credit: Armand Messier

Rachel Ledoux, Writer

On Nov. 11, Bellows Free Students students gathered with dozens of other St. Albans community members and stood in the cold weather for an hour and a half. The reason? To honor Vermont’s many veterans.

Departing from BFA at 10:30 a.m., the Bellows Free Academy’s marching band led the BFA student body down Main Street St. Albans in the annual Veterans’ Day parade. The band and students then circled Taylor Park before eventually falling into the crowd surrounding the park’s Clark Monument.

The ceremony featured a host of impactful speakers, such as Mayor Tim Smith, Past Commander VFW and VVA President Allan Brown and Senator Bernie Sanders.

The audience also heard students speakers from the Maple Run Unified School District and was led in prayer by Father Christopher Micale. On top of that, the audience got to listen to some performances by the BFA band and choir members.

Throughout these performances, it was clear that everyone attending the ceremony was reminded of the true meaning of Veterans’ Day. As Senator Bernie Sanders put it, “Today is a day of thank you; it is a day of memory.”

A theme throughout these presentations was a deep respect for Vermont’s veterans. Speakers recounted stories from their own time in war as well as the way veteran relatives have impacted them with their service. 

There were many calls to action, as well, with Mayor Tim Smith encouraging St. Albans residents to display American flags in front of their homes in order to demonstrate a year-long respect for our veterans.

Many speakers asked community members to thank anyone they knew who had served as well.

Another of these calls to action was specifically directed at the students in the audience. Students were challenged to really think about the things veterans have gone through for their freedoms and to put themselves in their shoes for a moment. Speakers asked students to imagine being away from their families for months on end to do what these veterans had. Students were told that, though they can’t truly understand the horrors of war, that they could still help support and uphold those who did.

As Mayor Smith put it, “What will you do to honor our veterans moving forward?”