On Monday morning the Ardmore Veterans Center will be hosting their annual Veterans Day program. While the ceremony is typically held on the grounds in front of the facility, this year they have already made the decision to move everything inside to the Rec. Room located at the north end of the building due to the forecast of rain, low temperatures and high winds.
Carter County Veterans Council Chairman Rear Admiral Wesley Hull said that despite the slight change of location everything will go on as scheduled. The Ardmore Youth and Community Band will begin playing patriotic music at 10:30 a.m, the Patriot Guard Riders will enter at 10:45, and the ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. This year’s guest speaker is Command Sgt. Major Jerry Good, US Army, Retired.
“We usually make the decision to move inside on Monday morning, but after looking at the forecast and seeing such a high percentage of wet and cold, we went ahead and decided to move inside,” Hull said. “I could have probably arranged for one of the school’s gymnasiums, but all of those veterans at the center are long-term care. We try to have it there for them because you can’t take them out in that weather.”
Hull said this is a special year because Armistice Day (the original name of Veterans Day) was first celebrated 100 years ago.
“Veterans Day — Armistice Day — is the only national holiday that recognizes a specific moment in time. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 an armistice was signed to end the war of all wars, World War I,” Hull said. “The first celebration we had was on Nov. 11, 1919.”
While the armistice was set to take effect at 11 a.m., Hull said it was actually signed a few hours early in order to get communications out that the war was over. However in the time between the armistice being signed and then going into effect, several thousand servicemen lost their lives.
“After the document was signed almost 3,000 military personnel perished,” Hull said. “We (the United States) had one (Henry Gunther). He continued fighting and got shot many times by machine gun mist at 10:59 a.m. — one minute before it was to go into effect.”
Hull then told the story of how Armistice Day came to be known as Veterans Day.
“Armistice Day only recognized World War I vets,” Hull said. “They declared that it should be celebrated on November 11 in 1926, and it was approved by Congress as a legal holiday in 1938. Then in 1954, after World War II and Korea, President Eisenhower changed it to Veterans Day from Armistice day to honor all veterans of all wars.”
Hull said he likes to explain some of this history because many people — especially young people — do not know it.
“It’s up to us old people to give our young people — our future leaders — a little bit of history when we can,” Hull said.