Veterans group from UMass Boston marching in Boston's Veterans Day Parade -
You can see Central Burying Ground on Boston Common in the background, where a number
of soldiers killed in the American Revolutionary War are buried
Every November 11th, a huge Veterans Day Parade marches around Boston Common and up Tremont Street along the Freedom Trail.
The parade finishes at Faneuil Hall next to a statue of Samuel Adams, whose fiery speeches about liberty helped spark the American Revolution.
If you are among the spectators, you'll see variety of veterans' organizations, military units, marching bands, honorary militias, and high school ROTC groups join together for the parade.
You'll also notice diverse perspectives about war and peace displayed on some of the signs and banners carried by the marchers - which why there is not just one, but two Veterans Day Parades.
Why two parades?
Some groups marching in the official Boston Veterans Day Parade didn't want Veterans for Peace, a group founded in 1985 to increase awareness about the price society pays to fight wars, to participate in their parade.
So every year, Veterans for Peace marches in their own parade, separated from the first parade by about 3 minutes, 300 yards, and a police escort.
A police escort leads the first parade as well - a reminder that peaceful assembly and freedom of speech are protected by the American Constitution's Bill of Rights.
Boston's first Veterans Day Parade kicks off at the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets.
The second Veterans Day Parade, known as the Veterans for Peace Parade, follows right behind it to honor and celebrate the original intention for Armistice Day - a Day of Peace.After the parades end at Faneuil Hall, you can hear a variety of speeches, readings, and music from both groups.
The Boston Police Pipes and Drum Corps leads the parade, playing stirring traditional and contemporary military music spanning the centuries.
Boston Police Fife and Drum Corp
This is the Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums, which is the Boston Police Department's bagpipe band. The award-winning Gaelic Column performs at many local cultural events and parades, police officer funerals, and ceremonies, and have also performed in concert with the Dropkick Murphys.
These marchers are part of the U.S. Navy crew who operate, maintain, and offer tours of the U.S.S.
Built in Boston in 1797, "Old Ironsides" is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world and is most famous for defeating a British frigate after a fierce battle during the War of 1812. The U.S.S.
Photo captions, from left to right:
1) Boston Veterans Day Parade marchers carrying American and U.S. Coast Guard flags
2) East Boston Army JROTC's Clipper Battalion
3) Marchers from Boston's English High School
4) Marine Corps JROTC from Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood
5) Marchers from Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood
6) Members of Charlestown High School's Air Force Junior ROTC in Veterans Day Parade
7) POW-MIA (Prisoner of War - Missing in Action) Flag carried by American Legion members
8) Members of R.O.C. Veterans Association in Boston marching in Veterans Day Parade
9) Veterans carrying American and South Vietnamese flags in Boston Veterans Day Parade
10) Veterans from American Legion Boston Chinatown Post No. 328
The Suffolk County Council of the American Legion coordinates the parade with the city. For more information: (617) 303-5693
Photo captions, from left to right:
1) Veterans for Peace Veterans Day Parade in Boston, with police escort
2) Marchers in Veterans for Peace Parade in Boston
3) Marchers carrying Peace Action sign (a reference to "police action," used to refer to the Korean and Vietnam Wars while they were being fought because they were undeclared wars)
4) Veterans Day Parade marchers carrying reminders of the costs of war
5) Members of brass band marching in Veterans for Peace Veterans Day Parade
6) Veterans Day Parade marcher wearing hoodie with a statement attributed to Major General Smedley Butler, U.S. Marine Corps, "War is a racket. A few profit - the many pay."
7) Marchers carrying Veterans for Peace banners
8) More banners carried by Massachusetts members of Veterans for Peace
9) Boston Veterans Day Parade marchers at the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets
10) Veterans Day Parade marcher with "No War on Iran" sign
Although you can see the parade from any point along the route, the best viewing locations are along the streets bordering Boston Common - either Boylston Street between Charles Street and Tremont Street, or along Tremont Street between Boylston and Park Streets.
Either side of these streets is fine - you'll have basically the same view of the marchers. Since fall foliage is usually still colorful on Veterans Day, standing on the side facing Boston Common lets you enjoy seeing all the colorful leaves in the background.
You can also watch the parade along Tremont Street past Park Street, all the way to City Hall. However, the street becomes somewhat narrower and your view may be more restricted.
The easiest way to get to the parade is by T (Boston's subway):
Closest T stations:
- Red and Green Lines/Park Street - Boston Common
- Orange Line/Government - Would put you near Faneuil Hall - but please note that this station is closed until Spring 2016
- Blue and Orange Lines/State - About a block from City Hall Plaza and Faneuil Hall
If you drive:
The easiest place to park near the parade route around Boston Common is the Boston Common Garage. Low (for Boston) weekend/holiday parking rates are in effect on Veterans Day. Faneuil Hall is also an easy walk (about half a mile, or 10 minutes) from this garage.
If you do plan to park here, please be aware that streets will begin to be blocked off at least 15-20 minutes or even sooner before the parade begins at 1pm.
A variety of coffee bars, bakeries, and bagel places line Boylston and Tremont Street along the parade route if you want a casual snack.
For a more substantial meal, consider these nearby options:
- Emmets Irish Pub (6 Beacon Street) - Casual pub food with an Irish flair
- The Back Deck (2 West Street - corner of West and Washington) - Burgers, salads, and casual American fare
- Quincy Market Colonnade at Faneuil Hall Marketplace - Lots of different food vendors under one room - everything from chowder to barbeque to pizza to sushi, plus lots more!