In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day following World War I.
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m.
That tradition has evolved over the years into Veterans Day, which salutes all veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Monroe County has displayed its strong support of the military and local veterans in various ways over the decades, and Veterans Day is no exception.
In Waterloo, city officials have once again worked in conjunction with the local schools and veterans organizations to present a special Veterans Day service in the Waterloo High School auditorium. The event is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11.
And in keeping with past services, a special group will be honored. This year, the descendants of local Civil War veterans will be recognized. Past events honored World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans.
The featured speaker will be U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro). The public is invited to attend this special ceremony.
Columbia American Legion Post 581 will host a public Veterans Day ceremony inside its hall starting at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11. This year, veterans of the Vietnam War will especially be recognized in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the beginning of engagement of ground forces in that conflict.
The featured speaker will be Paul Braun of Hecker, who served as a combat medic in Vietnam and was awarded the Purple Heart. He served as city treasurer in Columbia from 1976 to 1980.
The Columbia program also includes performances of such patriotic tunes as “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful” and the “Armed Forces Salute.”
Longtime legion members will also be honored, including 70-year members Harold Harris, Charles Lepp, Chester Schmidt and Herbert Schueler, and 60-year member Arthur Rueck.
Valmeyer American Legion Post 901 and its auxiliary will hold its annual Veterans Day Dinner for members at the Legion Hall on Nov. 11, starting with cocktails at 5 p.m. and dinner at 6 p.m.
To make reservations, call Chuck Asselmeier at 281-5705, Larry Heusohn at 939-8956, or Dave Gunn at 458-6553.
The auxiliary will raffle off a hand-made quilt after dinner, with raffle tickets still available before dinner. All members and their families are urged to enjoy a meal and honor and pay respect to all veterans.
This Sunday, the Valmeyer Community Chorus presents “A Salute to Our Heroes” at 3:30 p.m. inside St. John United Church of Christ in Valmeyer. The free concert will feature patriotic choral numbers as well as solos and ensembles and audience sing-alongs.
The chorus will be honoring the Valmeyer police and fire departments, first responders, the Maeystown Fire Department, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department and Monroe County EMS, all groups who serve the Valmeyer area.
The chorus will also honor all active and veteran members of the U.S. Armed Services.
The 35-member chorus will be accompanied by Sharon Sparwasser and Andrea Blackwell on piano, Ryan Brandt on trumpet and Ellen Heavner on keyboard. Dan McCarthy will provide guitar accompaniment for one of the solos.
Solos will be performed by Kyle Duffy, Ian Mannino, Mark Andres, BJ Henerfauth and Rebecca Mudd, and a duet will be performed by Tammy Duffy and Terrie Thies. Brenda Johnson will solo during a choral number.
The chorus is directed by Marcia Braswell.
A reception for the honored guests will be held following the concert in the fellowship hall.
Garden Place Senior Living in Red Bud is inviting all U.S. veterans and a guest to attend a luncheon in their honor on Thursday, Nov. 12, from noon to 1 p.m., at 351 Lockwood Drive, Red Bud.
RSVP to Barb by Nov. 11 at 618-282-7775.