DEVENS -- For more than 70 years, Devens was a waystation for soldiers leaving and returning from war. Some lived in barracks. Those who stayed longer brought their families.
After World War I, called The Great War, the country celebrated Armistice Day. On Nov. 11, 1918, the Allies and the Germans ceased firing, ending the war to end all wars.
In 1954, after Word War II and after U.S. troops stopped fighting in Korea, Nov. 11 was changed to Veterans Day to honor all veterans.
The Fort Devens Museum will host a lunch for veterans and their families, and will hold an open house over Veterans Day weekend.
Clear Path for Veterans New England will provide the meal this Friday, Nov. 10, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Worcester and Middlesex counties have a high concentration of veterans, said Jeannine Germain, the executive officer.
Working from donated office space in Devens, Clear Path has already provide peer mentoring and help to feed veterans, and has placed two service dogs. The agency's goal is to serve more than 1,000 veterans each month when a planned building is completed.
Devens is an attractive location because of plentiful outside recreation and the wellness opportunities that brings, she said.
The volunteer-run program is modeled after Clear Path in New York.
On Saturday, Veterans Day, Devens Museum will hold a free open house from 10 a.m. to 4 p.
During "Remembrance and Search" at 11 a.m., Jack Wilson will take the audience through the process of finding and identifying the remains of U.S. soldiers declared missing in action in Europe during WWII. Wilson, a graduate of Boston College and Boston University, searched for his own relative who went missing during a lengthy battle. He continues to work on behalf of missing WWII soldiers and their families.
Dan Leclerc, a former history teacher, and Walter Wilson, an actor and playwright, will present a program called "Soldier Poets of the Great War." It includes poetry, prose and letters readings. The duo will also provide background information on how WWI affected poets' thinking.
Veteran William S.
The museum is updating its displays. Recently, because of the 100th anniversaries of both Devens and WWI, the focus has been on adding material from that time, Executive Director Kara Fossey said.
One of her favorites is a dollhouse made by soldiers at Camp Devens for Marion Bonner, the 9-year-old daughter of the quartermaster. The two-story house with two sides that swing out is on loan from the family.
The Fort Devens Museum is at 94 Jackson Road, Suite 305, Devens.
More information about Clear Path can be found on their website at www.clearpathne.org.
Follow Anne O'Connor on Twitter @a1oconnor.