November 11, 1918
Grandpa learned about the Armistice from the hospital. He’d been there (or in a series of places) for eight days. On November 15, he had a friend write a letter to his parents; his right arm, injured in an attack, didn’t allow him to hold a pen. As was common among local families with their “boys” at war, his parents shared the letter with the King City Chronicle, who published it on December 13.
The fighting may have stopped that day in November, but it didn’t end my grandfather’s own battles. He stayed in France until March, 1919, recovering and waiting to rejoin his Company C, 356thInfantry, 89thDivision. He didn’t want to leave France without them. After returning to King City, he spent months fighting his way back into the life he’d left for war. The transition was difficult. Upcoming blog posts will look at his life after the Great War ended.
November 11, 2018
I decided to recognize November 11 as a remembrance of the Armistice. That’s how Grandpa’s generation saw the day, as a celebration of peace, as the end of a war meant “to end all wars.” I flew a flag from the front porch.
And I baked donuts to remember Grandpa’s job (one of his jobs) as an Army cook.
I shared them with my orchestra, the group that added two World War 1-era songs to our repertoire, Liberty Bell (It’s Time to Ring Again) (1) and Don’t Forget the Salvation Army (My Doughnut Girl). (2)
Music holds a central place in my family—especially in the generations of musicians on Grandma’s side. They sang at church and sang at home, with someone playing the piano or pump organ or violin or mandolin. Into this tradition, my father picked up the cornet. And his children, the trumpet, piano, organ, and violin. So, offering a musical tribute to Grandpa and his generation of soldiers seemed perfect to me. I felt so close to him and all my family as I remembered the Armistice with music (and donuts).
I’ve shared these links before. Enjoy the music again!
(1) Liberty Bell
(2) My Doughnut Girl