By Dixie Terry
Nov. 11, Veterans Day, was sunny, but crisp, as a crowd of veterans, their families and friends, gathered on the Carnegie Library lawn, for the annual Veterans Day Service.
Judy Miller provided a medley of patriotic songs on the piano keyboard, as the crowd arrived.
As the courthouse bell tolled 11 a.m., the crowd stood in remembrance of the Nov. 11, 1919, anniversary of Armistice Day, the ending of World War I.
The Posting of Colors was presented by the Vienna Boy Scout Troop No. 41.
Margaret Mathis, Daniel Chapman Chapter NSDAR historian, served as the mistress of ceremonies of the event.
Martha Schwegman, D.C. member, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag.
The National Anthem was provided by Mason Montgomery, as the crowd stood in respect.
The invocation was given by Dr. Ed Hollis, pastor of the Vienna First Baptist Church.
Opening remarks were shared by Doda Starkey, regent of the D.C. NSDAR:
“On behalf of the Daniel Chapman Chapter, welcome to all who have gathered here today. Most especially, I want to welcome you and express our heartfelt gratitude as well as to honor those veterans who are with us today. Thank you for your service and dedication to our country and its citizens; thank you for preserving those freedoms that we hold dear.
I would also like to thank our commemorative events co-chairs, Margaret Mathis, who is also serving as emcee, and Cara Webb. Thank you, ladies, for a job well done.
Veterans Day originated as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. It is generally on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.
Today we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I; the war to end all wars. A war many of us know very little about.
From 1914 through 1917, America was divided as to whether or not the U.S. should become involved in the European War. Prior to America’s declaration of war against Germany in 1917, many Americans fought for the French Army, the French Foreign Legion, the French and Canadian Air Corps.
When the war began in 1914, the U.S. Army ranked 17th in the world, behind Serbia. When American entered the war in 1917, over 1,000,000 French soldiers had been killed and over 380,000 British soldiers had died.
The war brought many new methods of warfare: Submarines (the German U-Boats); the use of chlorine gas (men who were in the trenches described it as a green mist slowly coming toward them); tanks (the horse became obsolete as part of the battle plan); the stalemate (French and British forces versus the Germans were in stalemate in The Somme; airplanes (one pilot described the planes as bicycles with wings so fragile were they); the machine gun as part of the airplane, (mechanics had to figure out how to shoot bullets as the planes’ propellers spun.)
Americans were aware of the situation in Europe through vast newspaper accounts. So, the problem that President Wilson and General Pershing faced was how to have men sign up to serve in the armed forces once America declared war. The Selective Service Act required all men between the ages of 18 and 35 to sign up. Then numbers were drawn indicating who would be inducted.
One important part of this process was motivation. Music was extremely important as a motivational tool. Two of the most popular songs were “Over There” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” both by George M. Cohen who later received the Congressional Medal of Honor for his contribution to morale during World War I. “Over There” quickly became the anthem of the war.
With that in mind, please join Mason Montgomery as he sings the chorus of “Over There” and “You’re A Grand Old Flag. Thank You.”
Following the singing of the two songs, a welcome from the city of Vienna was given by Richard Owen, city councilman, for mayor Jon Simmons.
Duane McGinnis sang and played the guitar with “Land of the Free, Because of the Brave,” and stated “Because of the veterans, we are able to gather here today.”
Virginia Street, honorary DAR Chapter regent, introduced the guest speaker, Dan Hopkins, pastor of the Gilead Cumberland Presbyterian Church, who has served his country in “Operation Iraqi,” and called all veterans “Warriors.”
Hopkins stated,”We should love and support our veterans who have sacrificed much, that earns them respect.”
The Memorial Wreath was placed by Marilyn Meisenheimer, DAR chapter, at the Johnson County Veterans Wall.
A musical salute was presented by Mason Montgomery, who invited the crowd to join in, as he sang the songs of the U.S. Army, “As The Caissons Go Rolling Along”; the U.S. Marines, “The Marine Corps Hymn”; the U.S. Navy, “Anchors Aweigh”; U. S. Coast Guard, “The Coast Guard Hymn”; and the U. S. Air Force, the “Air Force Song.”
Prior to the service, the Boy Scouts had placed American flags around the perimeter of the library grounds and handed out red, white and blue ribbon pins to those attending.
The benediction was given by the Reverend R.G. Null, pastor of the Goreville First Pentecostal Church.
The Twenty-One Gun Salute was provided by the Beggs-Gurley Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 5222, followed by the cornet playing of “Taps.”
The “Retiring of the Colors” of the American and Illinois flags was carried out by Boy Scout Troop No. 41.
The postlude by Judy Miller included patriotic music.
The service was sponsored by the Daniel Chapman Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and co-ordinated by DAR members, Cara Webb and Margaret Mathis.
Special thanks was given to all the veterans; Daniel Chapman Chapter NSDAR; Rose Mary Orr; Virginia Street; Doda Starkey, Juanita Broyles, DAR District VII Chaplain; Loudene Lemme, state treasurer, Illinois NSDAR; all former regents; Beggs-Gurley VFW Post No. 5222; Boy Scout Troop No. 41; Josh Stafford; honored speakers; musicians; and all who assisted or attended the Veterans Day service.