Thursday, November 11, 2021

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month--Veterans' Day

As we were driving back from the lake today, I apologized to my husband for telling him a story I've told many times. When I finished he said he'd never heard it. Here it is from my blog, November 11, 2009:
"I didn't hear about WWI memories [from my parents] until sometime in the early 1990s. I had interviewed my father for an oral history to include in a family recipe collection for a reunion of the descendants of his parents who had died in 1983. I had interviewed my mother about her parents' personal library for two articles I wrote. Both recalled in their 80s the first Armistice Day (now called Veterans' Day) even though they were 5 and 6 years old. I imagine they listened in on adult conversations and caught the fear and dread that gripped their communities. My mother's father who was 44 was registered for the draft. And although I haven't seen the record, I would assume my father's father, who was a much younger man (25), did too.

There were no radios or television, and newspapers would have been too slow. So the plan was to ring bells when word came to the nearest town that the armistice had been signed. The church bells would be rung; then each farmer would begin to ring the bells they used on the farm; then the next farmer a few miles further away would hear and begin ringing his bells. Both my parents had exactly the same memory of that first Armistice Day--hearing bells tolling throughout the countryside from all sides. The war was over."

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