SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Bright Nights at Forest Park will be saluting local heroes Wednesday night with Military and First Responders Night.

Wednesday was all about honoring our men and women in uniform. As they arrived at the park they were greeted with an outpouring of community support and appreciation with signs that read “welcome heroes.”

“We’ve got friends and family coming through the gate it’s just great to get into the holiday spirit and enjoy the lights and enjoy the camaraderie and just have a great night out here,” Colonel David Halasi-kun Wing Commander 104th fighter Wing Barnes Air National Guard Base told 22News.

Red white and blue flags adorned the entrance of Bright Nights for this year’s Military and Emergency First Responders Night. Members of the armed forces, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and emergency responders- receiving free admission to the beloved holiday lighting display at forest park in Springfield.

“It’s a great opportunity to and a great honor for myself and my team to be out here just to say the look on these kids faces coming into the bright nights. Which has been a tradition of Springfield for years and have that opportunity to give back to the community,” Colonel Joseph Janik Wing commander 439th Airlift Wing Westover Air Reserve Base told 22News.

The Spirit of Springfield offering a token of their appreciation for all of the men and women who make a difference in our lives everyday.

“My heart is with that group so we can’t do enough to say thank you and they look forward to it,” said Judy Matt President Spirit of Springfield.

All first responders and their families were treated to a ride on the carousel in Santa’s Magical Forest. The perfect night. It was a time to show these heroes just how much they mean to the community.

“Well tonight I just hope that they feel great appreciation that Springfield loves and appreciates them and that this a small meaningful tribute in the middle of this holiday season as we get ready for Christmas,” said Halasi-kun.

Tonight was also a night of remembrance. Wednesday marks 81 years since the attack on pearl harbor where 2,400 Americans were killed. Many tonight reflected on the service and sacrifice of all those that came before them.