Veteran’s Day this year is more than just a holiday to celebrate and honor the sacrifices of those who served their country. It marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
On Nov. 11, 1919, the first Veteran’s Day was celebrated, originally called Armistice Day.
Although the Treaty of Versailles was not signed until June 28, 1919, fighting between Allied and German troops had ceased Nov. 11, 1918. The armistice went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
It was not until 1938, however, that Nov. 11 was made a legal holiday, called Armistice Day. Between 1938 and 1954, the holiday was to honor veterans of WWI.
WWII had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen in U.S. history, and after U.S. forces fought in Korea between 1950 and 1953, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938.
The word “Armistice” was replaced with “Veterans,” and, on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 was set aside to honor all American veterans of all wars. On Oct. 8, 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veteran’s Day Proclamation.”
Lewis County is home to many different events to help mark this occasion and honor all veterans.
The Lewis County Senior Center began its Week of Patriotism, a series of events to honor and highlight veterans, Monday by recognizing and honoring their sacrifice with the Patriot Rider’s Guard, a group that honors veterans and first responders.
Today, participants will meet at the center at 12:30 and take a trip to the Mountaineer Military Museum in Weston. The museum features historic information about veterans, photographs, and displays about the various wars they fought in.
Musical performances, prizes and the issuing of a gift bag for veterans in attendance will be part of Thursday’s activities at the Senior Center, which kick off at noon. The day features a Veteran’s Program. Although the program begins at noon, Senior Center officials invite everyone, regardless of age, to lunch at 11 a.m. and encourage early attendance to socialize. Lunch is provided by John Metheny of the Fast & Friendly Pharmacy.
The annual Veteran’s Day Parade marches in downtown Weston on Saturday. Parade lineup is from 9-10:30 a.m. at Robert L. Bland Middle School. The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. The parade will move out at 10:30 a.m. and proceed down 4th Street to Main Street, then on to the Courthouse for a service to honor all veterans and, especially, World War I KIA’s (those killed in action) from Lewis County.
Forty-three Lewis Countians were killed in action. The names of the 43 will be read by the LC Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (JROTC) group and Taps will be played.
Family members of Louis Bennett, Jr., one of those among the 43, plan to attend, according to legion officials. They are Bennett McKinley, his wife Katy McKinley, and their son Louis McKinley, and are descendants of the late Bennett’s sister.
Also following the parade is the Purple Heart Monument Unveiling at Mountaineer Military Museum. Call 304-472-39-43 for more information.
The Veteran’s Day activities will continue with American Legion Post #4 hosting Judy Tarowski, who will be at the LC War Memorial on the second floor above the Louis Bennett Public Library, at 148 Court St., to give a presentation on WWI. This will start at 12:30 p.m. in the Louis Bennett Jr. Memorial Room. The public is cordially invited to attend.
That same evening will be the Post #4 Veterans Day Dinner at the LC Senior Center, at 6 p.m. The menu includes baked steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, a drink, and dessert. Tickets are on sale for $12 each at Bennett’s on Main Avenue in Weston.
All Weston Post #4 American Legion members who show a 2019 membership card will receive two free tickets. They may still purchase any additional tickets at $12 each. The cut off for tickets is Nov. 3 in order to get an accurate count and to give time in ordering the food for the dinner.
The meal will be catered by Bendale United Methodist Church. Call Commander Dennison at 304-269-3308 with any questions.
According to a corporate press release, many Sheetz locations, including Weston, are participating in a free lunch for veterans on Nov. 11. The Weston location confirmed they are offering a free 6-inch turkey sub with a regular fountain drink to all veterans who can show Military ID or proof of service. Locations with a car wash are also offering that for free to Veterans, as well.