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  • Writer's pictureLocal History Collection

Armistice Day 11/11/1918 - Veterans Day 11/11/2020

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in the year 1918, the nation celebrated the end of World War I, designating the date as “Armistice Day”. Though it was known as Armistice Day for nearly four decades, since 1954 the United States has referred to this holiday as “Veterans Day.” The name was changed in commemoration of all who have offered their service to protect our nation.

In honor of the day, The Local History Collection would like to share a reminiscence from Annie Buck, the daughter of well-known local photographer William Pickering. Annie’s firsthand Armistice Day memory recalls the actual day in 1918 when hostilities ceased on the Western Front:

“War ended at 11:00 A.M. People went to the churches to thank God for peace. Bells at the churches, firehouses, and school were ringing; lumber yard and other whistles were blowing; people banged on tin pans. The rescue fire truck has a big wooden cross with a straw-stuffed Kaiser on it in the big parade - they had crucified the Kaiser. School children and adults paraded; it was a joyful holiday for a few years. There also were some fire crackers. Dances and parties were held. After a few years, things settled down. It is now called Veterans Day. Some veterans’ organizations have services at 11:00 A.M.”

Annie’s brothers Ted and William (Bill) Pickering Jr. both fought in the war and returned safely. They are both pictured below in a photo taken by their father of Roslyn’s surviving veterans of the Great War. Along with several other local citizens, the soldiers were photographed on the steps of The Valentine House, which is now located adjacent to The Bryant Library and serves as the Library's annex.

Provided with this photo is a hand-drawn seating chart:

The table below matches the corresponding numbers to the names of most of the men pictured. Unfortunately, some remain unknown at this time.

Taken on the steps of The Valentine House in its current location, this 1968 photo marked the 50th anniversary of Armistice Day and features many of the soldiers from the Pickering image:

While the memories of days gone by may appear distant from our collective consciousness, photographs and reminiscences such as these keep critical moments in history alive, along with the people who created them.

On this numerically notable Veterans Day, The Local History Collection salutes the brave individuals whose legacies live on into the present and future.


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