Westfield State University to host Veterans Day celebration

Westfield State University will observe Veterans Day with a Nov. 11 event that honors new and current veterans. Called Got your Back (“Got Your Six”), the holiday will be celebrated with a drive-through, self-guided tour to view over 2,000 luminaries around campus that recognize and thank the National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve members who were activated during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

During the ceremony, whose theme is peacekeeping, attendees will be required to remain in their vehicles to maintain social distancing. Details of the event are as follows:

  • The ceremony will start at 4:30 p.m. at the main Westfield State entrance on Western Avenue, where guests will receive a brochure. After completing the luminary tour around campus, guests will exit via Scanlon Road.
  • WSKB 89.5 FM will broadcast a pre-recorded opening ceremony and patriotic music that will accompany the tour.
  • A complimentary hot chocolate/hot cider/water drive-through station will be available at the start of the tour, sponsored by Westfield State’s Military Community Excellence Center.
  • Canned goods, which will be used to weigh down the luminaries, will be donated to local food banks following the event’s completion. Donations will be accepted until Nov. 10 at the Military Community Excellence Center in Bates Hall. Please email Westfield State Veteran and Military Service Coordinator Lisa Ducharme prior to dropping them off to ensure social distancing. The brochures contain valuable information about veterans’ benefits as well as information about the luminaries.

Through this event, Ducharme—a veteran herself—aims to celebrate veterans, thank our guard and reserve members, and raise awareness of the University’s Military Community Excellence Center and the services and benefits available.

“When creating the name for this Veterans Day celebration, we decided to call it ‘Got Your Six,’ which is a World War I-originated term that means ‘Got your back,’ because—right now, more than ever—we need each other,” said Ducharme.