In the mid-1930s in my hometown of Bartlesville, Okla., I remember when I was about 12 or 13 years old that we always celebrated Armistices Day, which was to commemorate ”The War to End All Wars.” The time and date of the end of the war was 11 a.m. on the 11th of Nov., 1918. We had our last parade on Nov. 11, 1941 – just 26 days before the ”Day of Infamy on Dec. 7, 1941.” So here we are, 20 years after the war still at our annual celebration.
We had a big parade led by the American Legion Drum and Bugle Corp, as well as by the Sons of the Legion Drum and Bugle Corp. Both of these bands were state champions; I know because I played the symbols. I was too small to play a drum.
The mayor, police department and other city and county forces were also in the parade. The only participants were patriotic organizations, no commercial representatives, except for Mr. Frank Phillips, president of Phillips Petroleum Co., who was often on the reviewing stand.
We were so proud to honor the memory of the brave veterans of WWI, the Spanish American War and the Civil War. Yes there were several Civil War Vets 70 years after that conflict. No elected officials or wannabes would dare to not show their faces. Naturally, there were speeches at the cemetery where the parade ended. Hot dogs, hamburgers, soda pop and potato chips were free and in good supply.
It was a wonderful day of remembrance and we all were so proud to fly the American Flag. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post, boy scout troops, many churches, girl scouts, DeMolay, Masonic, Order of the Eastern Star and Osage Indians plus others were all represented.
It was a proud day. We were sure there would never be another war. Were we ever mistaken?
Now the holiday is called Veterans Day, and I am just as proud to commemorate the day and to think about the the friends and comrades that I knew while I was in the military. Also, I honor the men and women that I didn’t know but served us so well and sacrificed so much – many with their lives.
Now we have a memorial service by the local VFW Post No. 4039, held in front of the Creswell fire station. There is a small crowd but they are a patriotic and proud. I wish more would attend, especially elected and employed officials, to show their patriotism and sincere respect. If they don’t attend, it is their business; perhaps they are patriots.
It is now 73 years since World War II ended and there are still a few of us proud veterans still upright and above ground.
Thank you all for your show of respect.