Veterans Day marks 100th-anniversary of WWI armistice

November 12, 2018

The annual Veterans Day Program and breakfast is being held Monday at the Rochester International Event Center.

On Sunday, at the veterans memorial at Soldiers Field, self-described history buff Jonathan Shugart, 20, held a ceremony of one.

For 100 years, people have paused to honor soldiers and mark the end of World War I at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month. Shugart walked more than two miles in light snow from his home to the park. As bells rang throughout the city at the 11 a.m., Shugart, alone at the memorial, faced north toward the Plummer Building, where bells were tolling, and saluted.

Dressed in snowboots and a reproduction World War I-era British army helmet, Shugart said his walk his small way of honoring soldiers who endured much more.

“Troops of that era had to move in weather like this,” Shugart said. “It’s kind of my little way to follow in their footsteps.”

Shugart said he has studied World War I in his own time after learning a little about the conflict in school. He said found his history class wasn’t very detailed about the conflict that claimed an estimated 15 to 19 million lives.

“It’s a very glossed-over subject,” he said.

Most lessons covered heads of state and a few military generals, Shugart added.

“You don’t learn about the guys who served in combat.”

World War I ended by treaty Nov. 11, 1918. Beginning in 1919, the date was marked as Armistice Day until it was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor veterans of other wars as well.

Shugart wasn’t the only person to visit the park during Veterans Day. Ed Denbow biked to the park to see if there were any ceremonies marking the day.

“I figured I’d pay my respects,” he said. “I’m a little disappointed there’s nothing happening here for the 100th anniversary (of the end of World WarI).”

Neither Shugart or Denbow served in the military. Both have relatives who did. Shugart’s grandfather served in World War II.

On Monday, veterans are invited to a morning program and breakfast marking Veterans Day at the Rochester International Event Center.

The event, put on by volunteers from the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial committee, the Disabled American Veterans group, the Civil Air Patrol, POW/MIA Riders Association, and other volunteers, includes a free breakfast courtesy of Canadian Honker and the Event Center.

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