The words "American" and "freedom" are synonymous with each other. If the freedoms we possess were gone, we would, in essence, not be Americans. Therefore, it is extremely important to observe and celebrate the freedoms we have and honor those who fought to gain and retain those freedoms.

Veterans Day is on Sunday, November 11, and there are plenty of ways to celebrate this holiday besides just having off of work the next day. Here are some events that are going on in Buffalo this year for Veterans Day.

Saturday, November 10

- Veterans Day Commemoration at The Made In America Store (900 Maple Rd., Elma). From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., celebrate local veterans with music by Nashville recording artist Ricky Lee. Admission is free.

- Buffalo Veterans Day Parade (Delaware Avenue From Summer Street to Niagara Square). Parade begins at 11 a.m. at Delaware Avenue and West Tupper Street. The celebration is meant to welcome home veterans of every era and all wars.

Sunday, November 11

- Veterans Day Ceremony at Forest Lawn Cemetery (1411 Delaware Ave., Buffalo). Flags will be placed on the graves of veterans buried in Forest Lawn's Field of Valor and Erie County American Legion section beginning at 8:30 a.m. A service starts at 9 a.m., including an invocation, recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, placing of wreaths, gun salute, blowing of "Taps" and more. Free to attend.

- Inaugural Veterans Day 5K Race at Buffalo Naval & Military Park at Canalside, starting at 11 a.m. The proceeds of this race will go towards the Soldiers Angels Christmas Care Package Project. The Veterans Day 5K Race is encouraging participants to "Run in their Boots" by running in combat boots or the civilian equivalent; those who do will receive a special gift at the end of the race. Red poppies will be given to each veteran that finishes the race. There will be a post-race party at the Liberty Hound restaurant, with raffles and giveaways. Check out the race's website for information on how to register.

- High Five for the Military at the Buffalo Zoo. Members of the United States military and up to four additional guests will be admitted to the Buffalo Zoo for a total of $5. A valid military ID must be presented at the admission gates to receive the discount.

Contributed by Brandon Kilijanski

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