WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Veterans Day observances continued over in Westfield on Saturday with a parade and ceremony, as the community came together to honor all veterans, past and present.

Dozens of Westfield residents paying respects to the men and women, living and deceased, who have served in the U.S. military.

The city’s Veterans Day observance began with a parade through downtown with a culminating ceremony at Westfield Middle School. All to send an important message to vets, “Thank you for serving our country.”

The ceremony included a proclamation and prayer, renditions of patriotic songs from the Westfield High School Band, and remarks from veterans themselves.

“We recall on this Veterans Day that we are faced with great responsibilities. The sacrifices and contributions of so many women, men and their families have made in order to permit us to gather here today,” expressed Colonel Steven Reynolds, the 104th Fighter Wing Maintenance Group Commander.

Colonel Steven Reynolds of the Massachusetts Air National Guard recalled the history of the federal holiday which stems from the armistice between the Allied nations and Germany during World War I.

“The war to end all wars. The war to end all wars,” said Reynolds, “It saddens me that these hopes and dreams have not been fulfilled. The purpose of war is the establishment of a lasting peace and stability in our nation.”

According to the Pew Research Center, there are over 18-million veterans currently living in the United States and that comes out to about six-percent of the adult population. Events like these serving as a reminder of all the freedoms awarded to Americans thanks to those individuals.

Kaelee Collins is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kaelee on X @kaelee_collins and view her bio to see more of her work.