THE WAYBACK MACHINE
Local Veterans Day programs have been canceled this year because of the pandemic. The Cricket’s December 2, 1922 edition features the first celebration of “Veterans Day” locally. The event was marked by a talk by Dr. E.W. Homan of Saugus, who addressed why veterans—especially Union “G.A.R. Boys” of the “Grand Army of the Republic” who fought in the Civil War—deserved a day of commemoration. Interestingly, originally the day was supposed to offer both humor and serious remembrance. Read on.
Col. H. P. Woodbury Camp Sons Of Veterans Observe Veterans Day
Dr. E.W. Homan Delivers Excellent Address In Tribute to Vets of Civil War
Veterans Day, the new patriotic day set aside by the Sons Of Veterans organization to do special homage to the old vets of the Civil War, was duly observed by Colonel HP Woodbury Camp, Tuesday evening who entertained as guests the members of Post 67, G.A.R. Associates, and the Woman’s Relief Corp. The last thinning ranks of the G.A.R. Boys was all too well and evidence, when it was noted that only three members of the Post were able to be present, Commander E.P. Stanley and comrades Charles Stone and Charles P. Goldsmith. It was a pleasing note, however, that all three appear to be an excellent health and enjoyed the evening thoroughly.
Commander Ernst Sergeant presided at the exercises of the evening, explaining briefly the objects a Veterans Day. He introduced Dr. E.W. Homan of Saugus as a speaker of the evening, who as a prelude related a brace of humorous stories and anecdotes, explaining that Veterans Day should have two sides, the funny side as well as the more serious vein, and the doctor proved himself a past master in the art of funny storytelling, and kept his audience in paroxysm of laughter for twenty minutes.
Later in a more serious mood, he talked about the objects of the day which probably grew out of the custom of celebrating Mother’s Day which is very generally observed everywhere; then came Father’s Day, which was not much of a success for which he could give no reason. The Sons of Veterans started a movement to have Lincoln’s birthday made into a special day for observance, which has been very generally compiled with and, recently, Veterans Day was set aside for us for the same purpose, although it should not be necessary to name any special day for such a purpose. We should recognize what they are, and what they have done for us, at all times.
Our daddies came back from the Civil War and all its hardships only to find their jobs had been taken by others and their business all run down or totally gone. But they were heroes still and bravely went to work to get on their feet again, that their boys and girls might have advantages that belong to them. So all through the state we are observing Veterans night and the old comrades can realize as time goes on what this organization means to them. I am reminded tonight if those lines of Kipling: “Lord God of hosts be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget,” and that is what the Sons of Veterans will never do—forget the old veterans. It is our special province to keep their memory ever green for it does not seem to belong to any other organization as it much as to us: It is not for the Spanish War veterans to tell the story of the Civil War; it cannot be for the veterans of the World War, because they have their own story to tell and their own veterans to look after, but the G.A.R. will now have the allied patriotic orders and their mothers, sons, and daughters to look after them.
Did you ever stop to think that someday there would be a boy or a girl who would be asking what was a G.A.R. man? And what a privilege is ours to have known and mingled with these men and be able to answer that question.
At the close of the exercises refreshments of ice cream and cake were served.
Editor’s Note: According to the US Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs, Veterans Day was created by a US Congress resolution on June 4, 1926 and marked on November 11 because that day was the day commemorating Armistice Day and the end of World War I. At that point, Veterans Day became a recurring anniversary to be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations. In 1938, it became a national holiday. And though by then it had been celebrated to remember veterans of all wars, in 1954, Veterans Day and November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.