Weekend of celebrations planned for Bennington Battle Day

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BENNINGTON, VT (NEWS10) – Despite cancellations and social distancing restrictions, a full series of events, including a parade, firework display and military helicopter landing, are still planned to commemorate the Battle of Bennington which took place on August 16, 1777.

A fireworks display is planned for Saturday evening, gathering is discouraged but the high altitude display should be visible from people’s yards.

Earlier on Saturday, at 2:00 p.m., Phyllis Chapman of Vintage Visitors is set to give a speech honoring the centenary of the 19th amendment, which gave women the right to vote. The speech will take place at the Congregational Church Barn on Monument Circle.

At 3:30 p.m., the Bennington Historical Society and the Friends of the Bennington Monument will conduct a walking tour of Old Bennington. Masks will be required and social distancing measures will be enforced as visitors learn the stories of the buildings and monuments of Vermont’s oldest town.

Essential workers will be honored at the Vermont Veterans Home on Sunday Morning. Colonel Al Faxon of the Veterans Home and Bennington Town Manager Stu Hurd will begin the ceremony at 11 a.m. before brief addresses by two local students recounting the Battle itself. Mary A. Morrissey and State Senator Brian Campion will then honor essential workers before a speech by Southwestern Vermont Medical Center ER nurse Patricia Johnson.

After the ceremony, a “reverse parade,” led by fire trucks and rescue vehicles from Bennington and surrounding communities, will leave from the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center and pass through town on its way to the Veterans Home.

Residents of Bennington and surrounding communities are encouraged to join the parade with their own car or truck at Dewey Street .

While the parade is in progress, Black Hawk helicopters from the Vermont National Air Guard will be making a landing on the Veterans Home lawn.

Seven miles west of the center of Bennington over the New York line on Route 67, a ceremony honoring those who fought in the Battle will take place at 4 p.m. on Battle Day.

The ceremony is due to take place on the hilltop where American militiamen bravely assaulted German troops fighting for the British on the afternoon of August 16, 1777. Due to coronavirus related restrictions, the ceremony is limited to 50 people.

The Bennington Museum is also putting together a virtual tour of local historic sites related to the Battle that may be visited online.

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