MOUNT GILEAD — Veterans Day speaker Ric Lyle noted that this year is the 100th anniversary of the Nov. 11 Veterans Day event.
“To all veterans, this is our day,” Lyle said as he acknowledged the 20 million veterans in the United States today.
Lyle is a retired Chief Master Sargent, having served 33 years in the U.S. Air Force and is a veteran of the Afghanistan War.
He gave some history of Veterans Day that was first known as Armistice Day to commemorate the Armistice signed with Germany in World War I in the 11th month, 11th day and 11th hour.
Lyle said Stan Sipe shared an article with him in the Morrow County Sentinel from November 1921 of the first Armistice Day 100 years ago. Despite a cold day with a mix of rain and snow a crowd gathered in Mount Gilead to honor veterans. Schools and businesses were closed for the day.
Warren G. Harding was President and at the dedication of the Unknown Soldier Memorial in Washington. It was an emotional time for the nation that just got through a war and a pandemic.
That first Veterans Day in 1921 was to honor the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C., which was dedicated that year in Arlington Cemetery. It was in Memory of those unidentified who died in World War I that was known simply as The World War at that time. It has since come to represent all those unidentified who have died in wars.
Dan Fricke was at a loss for words as Color Guard Commander Mike McKinney and Gary Dilsaver and Lyle presented him with a shadow box with his service medals and memorabilia during the Thursday ceremony.
“Thank you very much, I really appreciate this award,” Fricke said. “And thank you to all the people who came out today for this Veterans Day program.”
McKinney said the Color guard planned the presentation as a surprise for Fricke who retired as Color Guard Commander this year. Fricke served in the Morrow County Color Guard for 45 years at graveside services, Veterans Day and other events in the county.
“We asked Dan to call the commands one more time today,” said McKinney. “But we kept the presentation a secret.”
People lined every corner of the square as traffic was stopped for 15 minutes for the Veterans Day event. The four Fourth grades from Mount Gilead Park Avenue were with their teachers: Melinda Martin, Victoria Knuckles, Carol Carnes and Julie Rhea.
The Mount Gilead High School Band under the direction of Ross Runyan performed the National Anthem and concluded the ceremony with taps.
Placing wreaths for the ceremony this year were Steve Montell, Commander and Marion Busse, Auxiliary President of the V.F.W. Nelson E. Campbell, Jr. Post 8054 Mount Gilead; Brandon Altstadt, Commander and Teresa Bowman, Auxiliary President of the AMVETS Post 87, Mount Gilead.
The Honor Guard and Firing Squad are members of the Nelson E Campbell, Jr. V.F.W. Post 8054 and AMVETS Post 87: Tom Graham, Harlan Park, Bill Mills, Frank Moore, Steve Montell, Richard Braddock, Matthew Casler, Erick Shaffer, Gary Dilsaver, Mike McKinney, Jerry Jagger, Sam Beal, Al Forry, Brenda Harden, Gary Baker, Chad Remy, Don Broadwater, Sam Reeve, David Broadwater, Don Broadwater, Jr. and Brandon Altstadt.
Daniel Fricke is Coordinator for services and events.