This week’s throwback Thursday takes a look back at Armistice Day in 1941, just one month before the U.S. joined World War II. Armistice Day, celebrated November 11, honored veterans of World War I and celebrated peace in the country after the end of the war. Eventually, it was expanded to celebrate all veterans and was renamed Veterans Day in the 1950s. The following article appeared in the November 14, 1941 edition of the Carroll County Democrat.
Armistice Again… Peace; With An Overtone Of Militarism
On last Tuesday, Armistice Day, 1941, in the county site of Carroll County, a parade formed, made up of representatives of the American Legion Post of McKenzie, Hollow Rock, Bruceton and a good portion of the Huntingdon membership.
Huntingdon’s colorful band led the parade– youngsters in bright new uniforms; graceful young girls, color-bearers and drum major. Following these was the Hollow Rock Legion band, the legionaires and the entire student body of Huntingdon school, then various people in cars and otherwise who just “joined the parade.” Up near the front a frisky dog barked and circled and tried to reach his young master who was in the band.
It was a typically American scene– beautiful, care-free, glorious. But the cheering was subdued and the smiling faces of spectators were, in many cases, coursed by tears.
The marching men who had fought a war more than twenty years ago, were sober– thoughtful– as they set their steps firmly forward. On the sidelines was an occasional youngster in uniform of the army or navy– watching these older men march. They were sober and thoughtful, too. It was a celebration of PEACE in America– Peace with a definite overtone of militarism.
The court room was crowded. Ernest McCollum presided. There were brief talks by representatives from visiting posts, the Huntingdon School Band led by Chas. Doran made music that thrilled the group. D.D. Maddox made an impromptu address while the crowd waited for almost an hour for Governor Browning who had another speaking date and was late for his address here. And the crowd listened intently throughout while Browning told them that America must go to whatever lengths necessary to preserve our way of life– to hold that which the other war gained for us, but cannot keep for us indefinitely, without effort on our part.
In a speech before a group of Red Cross workers on Monday, he had told them: “We have prayed for this cup to pass us by–“; but on Armistice Day 1941 there was this definite air about the people of Carroll County: “It is a cup we don’t like– but we shall drink it if we must.”
At the close of his Armistice Day address before a crowded house in the Circuit Court room in Huntingdon on Nov. 11th, 1941, Governor Gordon Browning quoted the following tribute to our country, which is reproduced by request of a number of people who heard him there:
A Tribute to America
God built a region of glory here and filled it with treasures untold; he studded it with sweet, flowing fountains and traced it with winding streams; He carpeted it with soft rolling plains and columned it with thundering mountains; He painted it in deep shadowed forests and filled them with song, He called unto a thousand peoples and summoned the bravest among them. They came from the ends of the earth, each bearing a gift and a hope. The glow of adventure was in their eyes, and in their hearts was the glory of freedom.
Then, out of the bounty of earth and the labors of men, out of the longing of hearts and the prayers of souls, out of the memory of ages and hopes of the world, God fashioned a nation of Love. He filled it with purpose sublime and He called it AMERICA.
From its beginning as a nation, in a brief span of years, we have seen the crash of medieval empires; the passing of world powers; the downfall of monarchy. Through it all, we stood firm, with our feet planted on these political Rocks of Ages.
Now, whatever else may come, may there ever show in our eyes the glorious light of high resolve that they shall not trail in the dust the golden hopes of men for justice and equality in the privileges of living.