DERRY — Veterans will again have their special day.
Both Derry Village and Derry Rotary clubs will once again host the annual veterans cookout. All veterans from the Greater Derry area are invited.
The cookout is set for May 29 at 5 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Derry, 40 East Derry Road.
The event is free to Derry area veterans and a guest. This is the sixth year for the veteran celebration.
There will be guest speakers, music, dinner, drinks and a special gift awarded to all veterans.
The annual veterans salute began several years ago as a way to honor veterans for their service.
“Our vets are so important to what we have today,” Rotarian and Derry police Chief Edward Garone said. “We didn’t feel they were getting the proper recognition.”
The two Derry Rotary clubs made it possible that first year for 20 World War II veterans living in Derry to take a free trip to visit the national monument dedicated to their service in Washington, D.C.
The following year, the clubs hosted a catered dinner for Korean War veterans. Subsequent years honored veterans from the Vietnam War, then all veterans from all wars were invited to center stage.
This year’s event is to celebrate veterans from all wars and conflicts. Younger veterans are also invited to the cookout.
The veteran crowds grow each year. Last year, about 300 veterans and guests attended the celebration.
This year, the party will be in the Boys and Girls Club function room, with outdoor activities, too.
Garone said it’s always a pleasure for the Rotarians to hear a “thank you” coming from the veterans in attendance. It’s a sentiment he said is always given in return to the veterans for their service.
Special guests this year include U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and two mothers who lost their sons while serving in the U.S. Navy.
Rotarian Eddie Leon said he would like veterans to call 674-8144 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get an idea of how many guests to plan on for the event.