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November 7th, 2015 – WaterFire Salute to Veterans

America Flag and spotlights in Waterplace Park. Photo by Erin Cuddigan.

This fire is made possible by Gold Star Sponsor Walmart, presenting Sponsors of the Veterans Resource Fair The Walmart Foundation,Silver Star Sponsor Bank of America, Bronze Star Sponsors Dominion Power & Energy and Chase Canopy, Media Sponsor the Rhode Island Broadcasters Association and other supporting sponsors: Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, TACO/The White Family Foundation , CVS Health and RBC Wealth Management.

November 7th, 2015 Event Info:

Sunset: 4:34 p.m.
Lighting time:  4:54 p.m.
The fires will remain lit until 11:00 p.m.
Music Program

All Full WaterFire installations light up over eighty braziers from Waterplace Park to Memorial/South Main Street Park on the below scheduled evenings. Lighting occurs shortly after sunset and the event continues until half past midnight.

RI Comic Con is also happening this weekend. The City of Providence has provided some useful maps to help visitors negotiate parking downtown.

Things to see:

The WaterFire Salute to Veterans event is a collaborative, community-wide celebration whose mission is to honor and recognize all United States veterans, active and reserve military personnel and families for their service, sacrifice and contributions to this nation, and to organize, exhibit and highlight the wealth of veteran oriented organizations and services available to them. Learn more on the WaterFire Salute to Veterans website.

The Salute to Veterans ceremony will begin at the Statehouse at 2:00 p.m. At 4:30 p.m. we’ll kick off the WaterFire lighting with a 150 Veteran Torch Procession and 300 Veteran Ring of Fire in Waterplace Basin. WaterFire Providence invites you to join us just after sunset as Veterans of our community process into the 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 is played by the Army 88th Band and Navy NE Band on the basin stage.  Then a patriotic music performance by the Navy NE and Army 88th bands.

RI State House Steps to Waterplace Basin

  • 3:30pm: Assemble Outside for Opening Ceremonies
    • Providence College ROTC Escort for VIP seating to include all Gold Star Families
    • Presentation of the Colors by Joint Service Color Guard
    • Invocation by Chaplain Colonel Robert Marciano, RI National Guard
    • Speaking Program to include Governor Gina Raimondo, Speaker of the House Nicholas Mattiello, Barnaby Evans, Rear Admiral P. Gardner Howe III and Brigadier General Christopher P. Callahan
  • 4:15pm: VIP Guest, Gold Star Families and Torchbearers Assemble for the procession to the Basin
  • 4:50pm: At Waterplace Park Basin
    • Presentation of the Colors by Joint Service Color Guard at the Basin
    • Musical performance by the combined Navy Band Northeast and Army 88th Band
  • 5:30pm: Opening ceremony concludes. Guests are invited to visit the Resource Fair, Monument displays, Vietnam Welcome Home Tent, Art Displays and more

Patriotic Displays and Memorial Observances
3:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. — Memorial Park and Washington Street

The Missing Man Table, photo by Jessica Ho.

The Missing Man Table, photo by Jessica Ho.

There will be many patriotic displays and memorial ceremony taking place in park, be sure to visit the Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home Tent, the Missing Man Table, and the Soldiers Cross Memorial, for more info about these presentations please visit the WaterFire Salute to Veterans website. There will be a display of vintage military vehicles from United States Marine Corps on display on the College Street Bridge. There will also be additional food vendors on College Street.

3:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Veterans Resource Fair
Washington Street and Washington Street Bridge

The 2015 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Resource Fair will open at 3:30 p.m.
Located at the center of the WaterFire installation on Washington Street and the Washington Street Bridge transforming it into an informational and educational center about issues Veterans can face after serving in the military. The 2015 WaterFire Salute to Veterans Resource is presented by the Walmart Foundation and supported by Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick LTD, CVS Health, and TACO/The White Family Foundation

Organizations include:

  • Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) will be onsite to allow veterans to search for jobs and to find employers that are advocates for veterans in the workforce.
  • The Providence VA will have an entire area dedicated to enrolling veterans in the VA healthcare system to address their health issues and ensure they are provided with the care and coverage they deserve.
  • United Way 2-1-1 will also be onsite with a fully functional RV to connect veterans with many resources available in RI including assistance in the areas of utility assistance, substance abuse and addiction, disability, housing needs, food assistance, child care, legal assistance and health issues.
  • Stacy L. Pearsall, two-time winner of the NPPA Military Photographer of the Year Competition, and creator of the Veterans Portrait Project will be on the Washington Street taking photographic portraits of veterans and their families free of charge.

Full listing of Resource Fair Sponsors and Map

Welcome Home Tent for our Vietnam Veterans: WaterFire Providence would like to shine a spotlight on and extend an extra special welcome to our Vietnam Veterans. Stationed on the Washington Street Bridge will be the Vietnam Veterans Welcome Home tent. A warm and inviting tent dedicated to the men and women who served in the Vietnam War, all Vietnam Veterans are welcome to join us in this area in celebration of your service. The public is also welcome and we are encouraging people to bring down pictures of family members or themselves from Vietnam to hang in the tent as well as submit them prior to WaterFire through email to be hung in the reception area.

  • A special Soldiers’ Cross ceremony for our Veterans will be performed by Rolling Thunder RI Chapter 1 every half hour after lighting adjacent to the Welcome Home Tent.

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 5:20 p.m. WaterFire will highlight the WWI, WWII 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.  At5:00 p.m. memorial vessels will pass through the bonfires along the length of the river to honor and remember the service men 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.

Charge up the night with National Grid!

Visitors make use of a National Grid Courtesy Phone Charging Station. Photo by John Nickerson.

[sc name=photo-caption caption=”Visitors make use of a National Grid Courtesy Phone Charging Station. Photo by John Nickerson.” ]

Make sure you can capture the magic of WaterFire all evening long by visiting National Grid charging stations on Washington Street and College Street to recharge your smartphone and other mobile devices during the lighting.

The WaterFire Merchandise Store on Canal Street – Open 3:30 – 10:00 p.m.

WaterFire Providence volunteers at the The WaterFire Store on Canal Street, photo by Jennifer Gervais.

[sc name=photo-caption caption=”WaterFire Providence volunteers at the The WaterFire Store on Canal Street, photo by Jennifer Gervais.” ]

The WaterFire Store on Canal Street is open for business. Stop in and buy a t-shirt, hoodie, poster, magnet, pendants and much more to help support WaterFire and keep the fires burning. Also make sure to check out the Photos of WaterFire tent on Washington Street. This tent will have matted photo prints, featuring the work of our Volunteer Photographers; WaterFire Providence postcards; large format photo posters; and silk screen prints by local artists.

Grab a bite to eat! Visit one of our great food vendors:


College Street
Taste of India
Ron’s Pastry Gourmet

Canal Walk, near the RISD Campus
Frenchy’s Popcorn
The Nutty Bavarian



Washington Street
UMelt – Lobster Rolls
Flatbread Company
Kettle Korn Express

Steeple Street
Fat Belly’s Irish Pub

Various Locations
Del’s Lemonade


Historical Open Houses

Make time to see The Governor Stephen Hopkins House located at 15 Hopkins Street (off Benefit Street) and open for tours between 10:00 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. Admission is free, donations are always welcome.

The Nursing Placement First Aid Station on College Street – 3:30pm – 9:00pm

Providing a safe environment for our visitors while they are enjoying WaterFire Providence is a top priority for us. Should you need assistance a first aid station is available at the top of Washington Street behind the Arts Festival Plaza.

The Nursing Placement Mobile First Aid Station

Nursing Placement the official first aid provider at WaterFire events will offer first aid care to the public at any time during the event. Additionally, the venue will serve as a meeting place for missing children and parents to reunite. The First Aid RV will be located on Washington Street and can be found on all WaterFire event maps. Nursing Placement will also be taking applications for new team members to help serve the RI population.

Hitch a ride with Sol Chariots Pedicab

Sol Chariots Pedicab

Sol Chariots Pedicab Cooperative is a local, worker-owned cooperative business operating in Providence RI that provides sustainable, pedal-powered transportation services.

Operating mostly in the downtown area, Sol Chariots primarily provides a bike taxi service for short-distance transportation, as well as a new way to experience and explore the city of Providence. A pick-up and drop-off location will be established along the northbound lane of Memorial Boulevard between College and Washington Streets.

About the author

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I've worked at WaterFire Providence since 2003. For the first 9 years of my career, I worked in the Production Shop learning all of the details that go into the physical production of the event. In 2012 transitioned to the role of managing WaterFire's social media and web presence. I now head up WaterFire Providence's digital projects including, web, social, databases, and our physical IT infrastructure.

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