Oak Bluffs designated a regional Veterans Day observance site

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has designated the Oak Bluffs Veterans Day Parade as a regional site for the observance of Veterans Day 2011.

Peter Hermann, a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 9261 and the parade’s organizer for many years, said Dukes County director of veterans services Jo Ann Murphy assisted him in submitting an application to the VA for the designation last January.

“We had to send in news clippings from the past five to ten years about our parades and any write-ups about what else we do on Veterans Day, such as inviting the community back to the VFW for a celebration and setting flags out at the cemetery,” Mr. Hermann said.

The VA notified him in June that Oak Bluffs was selected for the regional site designation.

“This year provides a unique opportunity — one that occurs every 100 years — to celebrate Veterans Day at the 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month, in the 11th year,” VA Deputy Assistant Secretary John M. Garcia wrote in a letter of congratulations to Mr. Hermann. “The Veterans Day National Committee is confident that your Veterans Day observance will serve as a fitting tribute to America’s Veterans.”

Mr. Hermann said he subsequently received a certificate about the designation, but he had to send it back to the VA because it read “Oak Bluffs Veterans Day Parade in Vineyard Haven.”

The VA sent a replacement, with the location corrected to read “Massachusetts.” Mr. Hermann and Ms. Murphy presented it to the Oak Bluffs selectmen at a meeting Tuesday night.

“This is a one-year recognition and quite an honor,” Mr. Hermann said. “We are such a small little town, Oak Bluffs, and we’re the only one in the state being recognized.”

This year’s Oak Bluffs Veterans Day parade will step off from Our Market at 10:45 am on November 11 and march to the Monument at Ocean Park for a brief ceremony of remembrance. Participants and spectators are invited to the VFW post afterwards for refreshments, Mr. Hermann said.