Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hymns to the Fallen

Veterans' Day Throughout America

Align LeftLancaster, Pennsylvania Armistice Day Parade - 1942.

The notions of Veterans' Day evoke powerful images in the mindsets of American citizens. I have had an ancestor or family member fight in every American war since the nation was founded. While I celebrate their service, I also realize that the commemorations of Veterans' Day has as rich a history as the wars, conflicts, and veterans they honor. Thus, rather than just musing about the importance of this day as a part of our national identity, I found it even more fitting just to show you how this day has been remembered since 1918. Even amidst epidemics, depressions, and war, the tradition continues. I think you will find that most of these photos and images speak for themselves.

Ad for the United War Work Campaign, slated to begin the same day the First World War actually ended.

"Local Board #17, last quota, 815 men, Nov. 11, 1918, L.A." Taken the very day the armistice was signed. Panoramas such as these were very popular around the turn of the 20th Century. They were often taken at graduations, commemorations, or military formations such as the one above. Click to enlarge these and the two following photos.

"First Division reunion dinner, Camp Dix, N.J., Nov. 11th, 1920. " Another great panorama of a commemorative event. Note how many are still wearing their uniforms.

"First Division reunion, Camp Dix, N.J., Nov. 10-11, 1920." Note General John "Blackjack" Pershing sitting in the photo's center right above the caption.

"Arrival of body of unknown soldier, 11/9/21." This photo was taken aboard the USS Olympia, the famed flagship of Admiral Dewey during the Spanish American War. The vessel was subsequently used in the Great War. The ship brought home the first Unknown Soldier to be laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Although it is now a museum, it lacks funding and is rusting away in Philadelphia Harbor. Currently, the U.S. Navy is considering scrapping or scuttling this historic vessel out of no other option of preserving it! Can you believe that? Supposedly, November 22 is it's last day open to the public before it is taken out to sea. So sad...

"Washington Monument on armistice night, 1921."

"Genl. J. S. Carr, May Belle B[...], Major, 11/22/23 ."Alright, I just found this image too cool not to show.

Laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. 1924.

President Calvin Coolidge at the same ceremony.

Armistice Day services at Peace Cross. 1924. Unknown location.

"Palestine disturbances 1936. Celebration of Armistice Day at the War Graves Cemetery on Mount Scopus." We often forget that Armistice Day was truly an international holiday since it commemorates the end of WWI.

"General John J. Pershing, at the White House, Armistice Day - 1938." 20th anniversary of the end of the Great War and the eve of yet another.

"Armistice Day parade, Omaha, Nebraska" - 1938

This photo actually commemorates the beginning of WWI. Taken in 1939 in Washington.

"Chicago (north), Illinois. On Armistice Day, a city-wide scrap collection drive was held. Trucks were lent by city and private truckers, and services were donated by members of the Teamster's union." 1942.

"Lititz, Pennsylvania. School children singing at the Armistice Day rally." 1942.


  1. Hello Jared,
    My name is Kyle and I happened to come across your old blog from your internship at Gettysburg. I'm applying for the same internship and I would like to talk with someone who was in it in the past. If there's any tips or pointers you can give please let me know.

  2. Hi Kyle. Can I have your email address?