WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Excitement was in the air at The Big E on Friday morning.
The fall tradition made its return to West Springfield after being sidelined last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. First-day festivities kicked off with a special salute.
“This is a great event here, it is a way for the New England states to celebrate and recognize the veterans,” said Jeff DeClerck with the American Legion of Connecticut.
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Men and women who have served our country got the opportunity to explore the Eastern States Exposition free of charge.
“We get a chance to start all over again, meeting new people, meeting new veterans,” said Tom Moore of Fairfield.
Mixed in with the traditional fair food and fun, the day was a chance for the team from the American Legion of Connecticut to connect with fellow veterans who may be struggling.
“It is also a way of reaching out and touching folks, especially folks who have been impacted negatively by what’s happened in Afghanistan,” DeClerck said.
For others, like Connecticut’s tourism team, Friday was an opportunity to say thank you.
“You can’t say enough about our veterans, they are a group that should always be thanked, acknowledged, so to dedicate a full day to veterans is a wonderful privilege, an honor for us,” said Connecticut tourism liaison, Rose Bove.
These folks leave The Big E knowing a little more about service and remembering to have fun.
“My hope is to just come out and have a party, be safe about it but have a party, get back into the normal routine of things," Moore said.
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