At the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, it was finally over, over there.
The Great War – World War I lasted four years and cost the lives of an estimated 8.5 million soldiers. When the guns finally fell silent on Nov. 11, 1918, they called it Armistice Day. In 1954, it was renamed in the United States as Veterans Day.
Tucking a red remembrance poppy into your lapel this year may have more meaning to you after a visit to the Webster County WWI Memorial in Marshfield, which commemorates the service of WWI soldiers with the poem "In Flanders Fields." The remembrance poppy was inspired by this poem, which refers to the many poppies that were the first flowers to grow over the graves in Flanders, Belgium.
On the weekend before Veterans Day – Nov. 7-10 – join the National Stars and Stripes Museum and Library in Bloomfield for their 7th Annual Liberty Days. The living history timeline will represent conflicts from the Revolutionary War to the modern era, and you'll have the opportunity to meet veterans from the Korean War, Vietnam War, Cold War, Gulf War, Kosovo and other military engagements.
Honor those who fought the war whose end started Veterans Day with a visit to the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City. The museum will host special activities Nov. 8-11, featuring hands-on history, displays and ceremonies. During the weekend, veterans and active duty military will be admitted free and the general public at discounted prices.
In St. Louis, the home of the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum was originally built to commemorate the service and sacrifice of Missouri WWI soldiers. It includes a large black memorial with the names of the fallen from the Great War and a mosaic gold star in honor of the Gold Star Mothers whose sons died overseas. The St. Louis Veterans Day Observance will be held there on Nov. 9 at 10:30 a.m. and there will be a ceremony and wreath laying at 10:55 a.m. on Veterans Day.
The Missouri National Veterans Memorial is the Show-Me State's newest salute to our veterans, featuring a full-scale black granite replica of the Vietnam Wall on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Join Rev. Bruce Owens, a Vietnam veteran, for a ceremony at 2 p.m. Nov. 11 that includes the laying of a poppy wreath at the apex of the wall.
Every day is a good day to thank a veteran – but this is the day dedicated exclusively to them. And one of the best ways to honor their service is to visit some of Missouri's many military museums and memorials and learn more about all they have done throughout our country's history – in peacetime, in the "war to end all wars," and in all the ones that came after.
Written by Barb Brueggeman