I'm from a small Vt town, as are 1/2 of my ancestors. Nice to meet you.
It was a big deal when members of a small town went to war, and a loss felt by all when any one would not return. It was that way during the Revolution and is still that way today.
I think the size of the celebrations could vary depending on the funds available, the wishes of the family, the traditions of that town, etc.