Veterans Dragon Boat USA pays tribute to Holyoke Soldier’s Home in light ceremony

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) —- As the nation begins to observe Memorial day members of Veterans Dragon Boat USA gathered to honor veterans with a lantern lighting at Holyoke Rows in Holyoke.

Star luminaries, bearing the names of those who recently died at the Soldier’s Home were launched on the Connecticut River and then one was sent out to honor all veterans lost.

Netshari Ortiz is a veteran from Holyoke who served in the US Air Force Reserves spoke with 22News about her time spent with the veterans at the Soldier’s Home.

“They handed over the torch so it is up to me now to keep that torch burning, said Ortiz.”I think of those who once thought of me and want to say thank you.”

Veterans Dragon Boat USA is a dragon boat team in Holyoke, exclusively for US military services. Partnering with Holyoke Rows its mission is to help support local veterans and the community.

Anna Symington is a co-founder and trainer for the Veterans Dragon Boat USA. She told 22News that light holds the meaning of hope.

“It’s a somber weekend, and people tend to gather around light. We welcome all veterans who want to be apart of this family unit, and we try to find ways to give back to the veteran community.”

This Memorial Day Weekend will be conducted differently this year because of the pandemic. The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs will have ceremonies at national cemeteries across the country, but all events will be held virtually. National cemeteries will also be open during Memorial Day weekend for visitation.

To support Veterans Dragon Boat USA click here.

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