100th anniversary of war’s ending
While Veterans Day is always a special holiday, today it is extra special because it marks the 100th anniversary of the armistice ending the fighting in World War I.
The United States World War One Centennial Commission has been promoting a special bell tolling remembrance across America today at 11 a.m. to mark the occasion.
This date became famous as the end of the terrible and bloody war that raged around the world from 1914 to 1918. The exact time for the armistice to go into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11 month in 1918. The day was commemorated thereafter in the United States as Armistice Day.
Since the end of World War II in 1945, the day has been celebrated as a day to honor all veterans of all wars. In 1954, Congress passed a bill, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law, officially changing the name of the national holiday to Veterans Day.
The Americans who fought in World War I did so for the most idealistic of reasons. As President Woodrow Wilson said, America entered the conflict “to make the world safe for democracy.”
There were a total of 4,743,826 Americans who served in World War I. Of that total, 53,513 died in battle, 63,195 died from other causes and 204,002 were wounded. There are no more living World War I veterans, but the impact of the war on families and nations continue to this day.
Thousands of Louisiana boys participated in the war in all branches of the armed forces. Southwest Louisianians responded to the U.S. Declaration of War in 1917 in a particularly patriotic way.
The local National Guard unit, Company K, took part in the war with the 156th Infantry regiment, 39th Infantry division in France. Others served in numerous other units.
The famous Jennings Cavalry Troop served as the headquarters troop for Gen. Douglas MacArthur in the famed 42nd Infantry (Rainbow) Division. They performed such vital functions as mounted orderlies and motorcycle couriers.
During World War I, there were 24 Calcasieu Parish men killed in action.
Two Lake Charles veterans posts are named in honor of World War I casualties, Champagne-Businick Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2130 and W.B. Williams American Legion Post 1.
Have a wonderful Veterans Day today, and remember our veterans from all wars, and especially World War I.
World War I memorabilia on display for Sunday’s Bells of Peace service hosted by the Louisiana Bayou Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution at The Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Lake Charles, La., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)