2018 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Event Information

Photograph by Max Dowgiallo.

Sunset: 4:30 pm
Lighting time:  5:30 pm
The fires will remain lit until 11:00 pm
Music Program

The 2018 WaterFire Salute to Veterans is made possible by –

Silver Star Sponsors: Bank of America and National Grid

Bronze Star Sponsors: Dominion Energy
Torch Salute Ceremony is presented by the Official Watch of the 2018 WaterFire Salute to Veterans: Benrus
State House Ceremony Sponsor: Citizens Bank
Veterans Resource Fair Presenting Sponsor: The Providence VA Medical Center
Veterans Resource Fair Contributing Sponsors: Citizens Bank, Tuggie the Patriot Pup, Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick, Verizon, Benrus

With special thanks to Fireworks Catering, Chase Canopy, and Golden Gate Studios

Torch procession and WaterFire Lighting Ceremony

The public is invited to join us in front of the State House steps where the Opening Ceremonies will begin at 4:00 pm –  Among the speakers will be Director of the Office of Veteran Affairs Kasim Yarn, Capt. Ian Johnson, Commanding Officer of NS Newport, Major General Christopher P. Callahan, and special Keynote speaker Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup. Followed by an enlistment ceremony and swearing in of new recruits of the different military branches. We will present the colors, sing the National Anthem, and honor our Veterans.

The WaterFire lighting will be kicked off with a spectacular Salute to Veterans Torch Procession and Ring of Fire in Waterplace Basin.  Starting at about 5:15 pm, veterans from our community will process into Waterplace Basin led by the RI Professional Firefighters Pipes and Drums. Here they will join their brothers and sisters in arms to surround the basin in a ring of fire ceremony with a presentation of the colors as the National Anthem and a full music program is played by the Navy Band Northeast Rhode Island Sound and the Governor’s own Army 88th Band on the basin stage.

“Navy Band Northeast’s Rock Band, Rhode Island Sound, performs music ranging from classic rock to today’s Billboard Top-40 hits, delighting audiences of all ages with their musical versatility and showmanship. Whether they are performing in Times Square during Fleet Week New York, supporting Navy Weeks across an 11-state area of responsibility, or entertaining students in local high school venues, this six-piece contemporary ensemble helps connect Americans to their U.S. Navy wherever they go. Rhode Island Sound’s impressive energy and musical professionalism are sure to inspire patriotism and pride at each and every concert.”

Rhode Island Sound in Times Square 2018 – Photograph Courtesy of Navy Band Northeast

WaterFire Providence Veterans Resource Fair

The WaterFire Providence Veterans Resource Fair on Washington Street and Washington Street Bridge is presented by sponsors, Providence VA Medical Center and supported by contributing sponsors Citizens Bank, Tuggie the Patriot Pup, Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, Verizon, and Benrus.

Located on Washington Street and the Washington Street Bridge and opening at 3:00 pm, the Veterans Resource Fair will feature organizations from across Rhode Island dedicated to providing services to veterans and their families. WaterFire invites Veterans, their families, and the public to come and learn about all of the amazing resources available to them – from medical care and job transition services to educational programs and Veteran’s family services. Organizations include West Bay Community Action, Team RWB, Mission 22, United Way 2-1-1, Korean War Veterans Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Rhode Island Military Organization, Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America, Veterans Assembled Electronics, Hope Health Hospice, CurrentCare, Granite Recovery Centers, Wounded Warrior Project, YMCA of Greater Providence, and Guitars For Vets.

The Providence VA Medical Center along with the Veterans Benefits Regional Office will have an entire area dedicated to enrolling veterans in the VA healthcare system. Veterans and their families can learn about all the healthcare offerings the Medical Center has and learn about benefits such as education and home loans from the Benefits Regional Office.

Benrus Booth on Canal Street: The Official Watch of the 2018 WaterFire Salute to Veterans, Benrus will be selling backpacks, hats, t-shirts, and watches at the WaterFire Marketplace. Stop by to learn more about Benrus’ rich military heritage. All profits from sales will help support the WaterFire Salute to Veterans’ mission of community engagement and honoring those who serve. Additionally, Benrus is making a donation a free backpack to each veteran that participates in the evenings Salute to Veterans Torch Procession.

World War I Storytelling Tent: The Storytelling Tent will offer storytelling for all ages in a conversational way. Matthew Baldwin McCoy, state coordinator for the RI World War I Centennial Commission will be on hand with a collection of artifacts and memorabilia from WWI. Scenes from PBS’ American Experience – The Great War will be screened throughout the evening. Children’s book author Lauren E. Kelley will be doing a book reading and signing of Tuggie the Patriot Pup. Local Veterans will be sharing stories from the past and present. All Veterans and their family members are invited to share their story or dedication in and between the pre-scheduled program.

WaterFire Providence lights and activates war memorials in Memorial Park in honor of our veterans. Memorial Park will be alight with blue stars to honor the Blue Star Families of Rhode Island and families that have a loved one serving in the military. Visitors are invited to share their hopes, dedications, and thanks for our veterans. Other special events in this area include:

Starting at approximately 6:10 pm WaterFire will highlight the WWI, WWII, Vietnam and Korean War memorials in downtown Providence with the playing of Echo Taps, recognizing the service and sacrifice of all generations of veterans.

A Missing Man Table will also be set up in Memorial Park to honor and recognize all those soldiers who have gone into battle and have not returned. Full of symbolism, this table contains many items that remind us of the sacrifices of both military and civilian lives lost and affected through combat and military service.

A special memorial ceremony will also take place on the rivers among the fires.  At approximately 6:00 pm memorial vessels will pass through the bonfires along the length of the river to honor and remember the servicemen and women that are no longer with us. Guests are invited to salute or place their hands over their hearts as the memorial canoes make their way throughout the installation.

From 4:00 – 10:00 pm visit College Street bridge to look at Military Vehicles up close.

The Steeple Street Unplugged Stage returns with another night of live local music during WaterFire. Bernard John will be performing a mix of folk and rock in three sets on Steeple Street:

6:30 – 7:15 pm
7:45 – 8:30 pm
8:45 – 9:15 pm


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