Veterans Day is not just another federal holiday that gets you out of work: It’s your opportunity to honor locals who have served in the military, past or present.
Each Nov. 11 on the anniversary of the end of World War I, the United States observes Veterans Day. The federal holiday honors all those who have served in the US armed forces whether in wartime or peacetime.
At Arlington National Cemetery, the national ceremony is held at the Tomb of the Unknowns, also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, each year on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. At the memorial, a combined color guard that represents all the US military services executes “Present Arms,” a sign of respect. A presidential wreath is placed on the tomb and a bugler plays “taps.”
After, the tribute turns to the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. This part of the ceremony honors all those who have served in the US armed forces, whether they are living or dead.
States and municipalities hold their own services to honor military veterans too, of course. (Fun fact: Here in Pennsylvania, we’ve actually increased the number of days we take to honor our veterans: June 12 is now recognized as “Women Veterans Day,” and March 29 is Tuskegee Airmen Commemoration Day, which lifts up the first group of Black military aviators during World War II.)
Here are just a handful of ceremonies and events happening across the commonwealth that will honor Veterans Day. In addition to these observances and events, individual counties, municipalities, and towns may hold their own parades, remembrances, and events. Check with your local government to find out what is happening in your town or city to honor past and present military on Veterans Day.
Bells of Peace at the Erie Maritime Museum
On Nov. 11, 2018—the 100-year anniversary of the World War I Armistice—the Doughboy Foundation observed the first Bells of Peace, a US national “bell tolling” remembrance. It is now an annual remembrance of those who served in WWI that happens on the anniversary of the day the guns fell silent and the bells tolled on the Western Front.
From 11 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Veterans Day, the Erie Maritime Museum will participate in this year’s Bells of Peace, and the public is invited to join in this observance of respect for veterans and the celebration of peace.
Location: 150 East Front St., Erie
8th Annual Philadelphia Veterans Parade and Veterans Festival
The 2022 Philadelphia Veterans Day Parade happens on Sunday, Nov. 6 beginning at noon. The parade starts at Juniper & Market Streets with a brigade of over 250 motorcyclists who will be joined by 7,000 participants and 30 Veteran Service Organizations. The parade route ends at North 5th Street and Market where the Veterans Festival starts.
The family-friendly Veterans Festival runs between 3rd and 5th Streets on Market until 3:30 p.m. Food trucks will be on hand, live music will fill the air, kids can have their face painted, and veterans and family members will have access to resources ranging from job recruitment to healthcare benefits and service providers, to educational opportunities, financial assistance, and workshops.
6 ABC will televise the parade as it happens for those who can’t view it in person.
Location: Market Street, Philadelphia
Veterans Day at the Pennsylvania Military Museum
Visiting the Pennsylvania Military Museum and exploring the story of the state’s citizens who have served in the armed forces is one way to acknowledge Veterans Day, and the museum has an additional way to do so on the day. Visitors can get hands on by writing holiday cards for active and retired military members living in Pennsylvania at the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg. As part of the Red Cross’s Holidays for Heroes program, the museum will also offer visitors the opportunity to make a craft on Veterans Day.
The event will take place on Nov. 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For those who can’t make it on that date, the museum will accept card drop offs through Nov. 20.
Location: 51 Boal Ave., Boalsburg
2022 Veterans & Military Council Ruck’nRun/Walk 5K
Held in Bethlehem, the Veterans & Military Council 5K is an annual run/walk to honor veterans during Veterans Appreciation Week. This year’s event will take place on Saturday, Nov. 12 beginning at 9 a.m, with registration starting at 8 a.m. Community members of all ages—there are seven age groups from under 12 to 60 and above—are invited to join local colleges, universities, and businesses in the event that honors all veterans throughout the Lehigh Valley.
Money raised through donations benefits the Victory House, a not-for-profit organization committed to addressing the challenges faced by men and veterans in their transition from homelessness.
Location: 5351 Park West Lane, Bethlehem
Pittsburgh Veterans Day Parade
On Nov. 11 at 10:30 am, rain or shine, the non-partisan, non-political Pittsburgh Veterans Day Parade will honor veterans and salute currently serving military members. The theme of the 2022 parade is “Honoring a New Generation of Warriors,” and the US Marine Corps is this year’s featured military branch, although all branches of the military will be represented.
The parade starts at the intersection of 10th and Liberty Avenue and will proceed along Liberty. Groups that represent veterans from all eras, military units, civic and youth groups, businesses, and more will march in this year’s parade.
Location: 10th and Liberty Ave., Pittsburgh