On Veterans Day, communities come together in varying ways to thank the men and women whose military service has ensured and protected our freedoms.

Dignified ceremonies and somber moments of silence will honor the sacrifice these veterans have made.

But in addition to the paying respect, one area performing group will add a little razzle-dazzle to the day.

The Lasting Impressions will spotlight the men and women who have served our country with a special Veterans Day performance. “Honoring Our Heroes” will feature patriotic song and dance spanning the decades, taking the audience into World War II canteens, through patriotic marches and to the foot of the Statue of Liberty.

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The show will start at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Historic Artcraft Theatre. Tickets are $15, though admission is free for veterans.

“The whole purpose is to honor the veterans, and at the same time be entertaining,” said group member Donna Browne. “We want everyone in the community to come and be there for the veterans.

The Lasting Impressions is a small group of entertainers, all age 55 and over, who have banded together to perform throughout central Indiana.

Based in Columbus, the group has performed at locations including the Mill Race Senior Center, the Brown County Playhouse and the Artcraft Theatre.

Though they’ve done Veterans Day programs in the past, this is the most comprehensive performance they’ve created yet, Browne said.

A central part of the show will take the audience back in time 1940s New York City. The Stage Door Canteen opened in 1942 to give servicemen nights of dancing, entertainment, food and nonalcoholic drinks.

“It was free to all servicemen to come on their liberty time off,” Browne said. “They were entertained by some pretty well-known celebrities from the East and West coasts.”

The Lasting Impressions will recreate the music and atmosphere of the canteen during the show, paying homage to performers such as the Andrews Sisters.

Other songs will recall the Broadway hits involving the World War II era, including “New York, New York,” “There’s Nothing Like a Dame” and selections from the musical “Oklahoma!” which opened Broadway in 1943.

But the program also will have a serious and reverent feel to it, Browne said.

When the troupe recites “What is a Veteran,” the response is very emotional, Browne said.

“There’s not a dry eye in the house when he finishes that,” she said.

Marches, rousing patriotic ditties and somber performances will be included throughout the program. “Song for the Unsung Heroes,” “Thank You Soldiers” and “Taps” will all reflect the tone and central theme of the show.

American Legion Post 205, based in Franklin, will be presenting the flags of the five branches of the military. When each flag is brought forward, veterans who served in that branch are asked to stand to be recognized, Brown said.

At the same time, the troupe will sing the official songs of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

“This is where we really honor our heroes,” Browne said.

If you go

Honoring Our Heroes

What: A special Veterans Day program put on by the Lasting Impressions, a performing group based out of Columbus

When: 5 p.m. Saturday; doors open at 4.

Where: Historic Artcraft Theatre, 57 N. Main St., Franklin

Tickets: $15; free for veterans

Information: historicartcrafttheatre.org or 317-736-6823

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Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at rtrares@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2727.