WaterFire to salute our veterans with special lighting

WaterFire Providence is hosting its annual Veterans Day weekend lighting with a special ceremony to honor our local heroes.

The event will include a special opening ceremony, performances, and the opportunity for veterans to get free tickets to the screening of Amazon Studios Presents: “Last Flag Flying”.

More information from WaterFire Providence:

Providence, RI:  WaterFire Providence is proud to announce the fifth annual WaterFire Salute to Veterans on November 4, 2017.  The fires will be lit at approximately 6:20 p.m.following the opening ceremonies. This fire is made possible by Gold Star SponsorWalmart, Presenting Sponsor of the Veterans Resource Fair The Providence VA Medical Center, Silver Star Sponsors Bank of America and National Grid, Bronze Star SponsorsDominion Energy and Chase Canopy, Torch Salute Sponsor and Welcome Home Storytelling Tent sponsor: Last Flag Flying, Media Sponsor the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association and Veterans Resource Fair contributing sponsors: Brown University and its Office of Student Veterans and Commissioning ProgramsChisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD., Citizens BankTUGGIE the Patriotic Pup and Verizon.

The Fifth Annual WaterFire Salute to Veterans is a full WaterFire lighting solely devoted to saluting and honoring our veterans, officers, currently enlisted members of the armed forces and their families in the region’s largest celebration of veterans of its kind.  With the full support of Senator Jack Reed, the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation, Governor Gina Raimondo, Director Kasim Yarn, Office of Veteran Affairs, and keynote speaker, General Craig McKinley, National Chair of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve. WaterFire looks forward to celebrating and thanking the brave service men and women in our community on a grand scale. This year, we will be remembering the 100th anniversary of WWI and the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

Christopher Buchanan, Director of Public Affairs & Government Relations for Walmart was happy to share his thoughts on the importance of supporting our veterans as the Gold Star sponsor of this event:

“Walmart is proud to support the veterans of Rhode Island and WaterFire for their contributions to the community. Our commitment to hiring 100,000 veterans nationwide and investing $20 million in transition and employment programs has already resulted in many new job opportunities, management positions, and a better quality of life for Rhode Island veterans. Walmart’s goal is to have a multiplying effect on the programs and services available to veterans and their families.”

The WaterFire Providence Veterans Resource Fair on Washington Street and Washington Street Bridge is presented by sponsors, Providence VA Medical Centerand supported by contributing sponsors Brown University and its Office of Student Veterans and Commissioning ProgramsChisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTDCitizens BankTUGGIE the Patriotic Pup and Verizon.

Located on Washington Street and the Washington Street Bridge and opening at 3:30 p.m., the Veterans Resource Fair will feature organizations from across Rhode Island dedicated to providing services to veterans and their families. WaterFire invites Veterans, their families, and the public to come and learn about all of the amazing resources available to them – from medical care and job transition services to educational programs and Veteran’s family services. Organizations include:

  • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve(ESGR) will be onsite to allow Veterans to search for jobs and to find employers that are advocates for Veterans in the workforce.
  • The Providence VA  along with the Veterans Benefits Regional Office will have an entire area dedicated to enrolling veterans in the VA healthcare system. Veterans and their families can learn about all the healthcare offerings the Medical Center has and learn about benefits such as education and home loans from the Benefits Regional Office.
  • United Way 2-1-1 will also be onsite with a fully functional RV to connect Veterans with many resources available in RI including assistance in the areas of utility assistance, substance abuse and addiction, disability, housing needs, food assistance, child care, legal assistance and health issues.
  • Photographer Stacy Pearsall will be taking portraits of Veterans and their families free of charge.
  • Citizens Bank will be actively recruiting Veterans during the resource fair.
  • The Cape Verdean Veterans Memorial Project, CurrentCare, Department of RI Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Jewish War Veterans, the Mobile Vet Center, Rhode Island Office of Veteran Affairs, United Veteran Council, Veterans Inc. and West Bay Community Action, will also be present a the Resource Fair.

Welcome Home Storytelling Tent: Make sure to visit the Welcome Home Story Telling Tent where veterans will have the opportunity to pick up free movie tickets to Last Flag Flying which will come out this Friday in select theaters and view the trailer, along with the chance to win a personalized and signed by Laurence Fishburne poster of the movie. The Storytelling Tent will offer storytelling for all ages in a conversational way. Children’s book author Lauren E. Kelley will be doing a book reading and signing of Tuggie the Patriotic Pup. Local Veterans will be sharing stories from the past and present. All Veterans and their family members are invited to share their story or dedication in and between the pre-scheduled program. Enjoy the conversation with a complimentary nitro brew from Veteran owned Bastion Nitro Trike.

As always, this event is free and WaterFire hopes to help ensure that our vets have the services and support they need to connect them with the resources available to them and to their families.

Opening Ceremonies will begin at the State House at 3:30 p.m. – Join Lt. Governor McKee, Director of the Office of Veteran Affairs Kasim Yarn, and special Keynote speaker ret. General Craig McKinley, National Chair of ESGR. We will present the colors, sing the National Anthem, and honor our Veterans.

The public is invited to join us in front of the State House steps at 4:30 PM, where the Opening Ceremonies will continue. Among the speakers will be the Naval War College President Admiral Harley, Adjutant General, Major General Christopher P. Callahan and our Keynote speaker, ret. General Craig McKinley, National Chair of ESGR, followed by an enlistment ceremony and swearing in of new recruits of the different military branches.

The WaterFire lighting will be kicked off with a spectacular Salute to Veterans Torch Procession and Ring of Fire in Waterplace Basin.  Starting at about 6:15 P.M., veterans from our community will process into Waterplace Basin led by the RI Professional Firefighters Pipes and Drums.  Here they will join their brothers and sisters in arms to surround the basin in a ring of fire ceremony with a presentation of the colors as the National Anthem and a full music program is played by the Navy Band Northeast and the Governor’s own Army 88th Band on the basin stage.

Braziers in Waterplace Park Basin have been dedicated, by the community, to our veterans. Dedications will be recognized on the digital media displays as well as in our printed event program. Please take a moment to acknowledge these special tributes.

WaterFire Providence lights and activates war memorials in Memorial Park in honor of our veterans. Memorial Park will be alight with blue stars to honor the Blue Star Families of Rhode Island and families that have a loved one serving in the military. Visitors are invited to share their hopes, dedications, and thanks for our veterans. Other special events in this area include:

  • Starting at approximately 6:20 p.m.WaterFire will highlight the WWI, WWII, Vietnam and Korean War memorials in downtown Providence with the playing of Echo Taps, recognizing the service and sacrifice of all generations of veterans.
  • A Missing Man Table will also be set up in Memorial Park to honor and recognize all those soldiers who have gone into battle and have not returned. Full of symbolism, this table contains many items that remind us of the sacrifices of both military and civilian lives lost and affected through combat and military service.

A special memorial ceremony will also take place on the rivers among the fires.  At approximately 6:40 p.m. memorial vessels will pass through the bonfires along the length of the river to honor and remember the servicemen and women that are no longer with us. Guests are invited to salute or place their hands over their hearts as the memorial canoes make their way throughout the installation.

From Sunset to 10:00 PM visit College Street bridge to look at Military Vehicles up close and take a portrait at the WaterFire Photo Booth supported by Joseph Anthony Weddings & Events.

RIPTA will be providing free rides to veterans to the WaterFire Salute to Veterans. Please have proof of service (military ID card or otherwise) and join us!

It is incredibly important that we, as a community, recognize the service and sacrifice of the men and women that have served in America’s military. We look forward to celebrating through WaterFire all that they have done. Please join us to thank our veterans, face-to-face, as a community. Check waterfiresalutetoveterans.org for continuing updates about this special event.

Power up with National Grid on Canal Street at the National Grid charging station Stop by and charge up your smartphones and other electronic devices so that you can capture all of the incredible sights at WaterFire.

The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza, in partnership with Bryce Studio, will be located on
Steeple Street from 4:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. This outdoor artisan fair will showcase some of the great artwork created in Rhode Island in mediums such as glass, photography, sculpture, jewelry and more. The WaterFire Arts Festival Plaza will offer visitors the opportunity to purchase artwork by Rhode Island-based artists.

WaterFire’s favorite characters are back for another enchanting evening.

  • Origami Master Andrew Anselmo will delight crowds of all ages near the RISD auditorium.
  • Fire spinners Liz Knights and Andrew Lindsay will dazzle you with their breathtaking performances throughout the night.

This will be the final full lighting of WaterFire Providence for the 2017 season. For information about sponsoring or supporting WaterFire Providence, please contact Bronwyn Dannenfelser, Director of Resource Development at 401-443-5541 or bronwyn@waterfire.org.

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