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P I C T U R E D I N H I STORY

AN END TO WAR ARMISTICE DAY, 1918 by Jennifer Lamont Leo

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ovember 11, 2018 marked the centennial celebration of the signing of the Armistice that ended the conflict of World War I. While the Treaty of Versailles in June 1919 is considered the official end of the war, the Armistice is celebrated by many nations as the practical end to the war, the socalled one war to end all wars. News of the signing reached Sandpoint at one o’clock in the morning and “was announced by the blowing of the mill and locomotive whistles,” according to the Pend Oreille Review of November 15. A parade of “automobiles, trucks, and other vehicles, with waving flags and honking horns, occurred before the populace congregated for the patriotic speechmaking and street dancing.” (The headline “City Celebrates Real War Victory: Premature demonstration of last week did not detract,” refers to a dispatch announcing peace that went out on November 7, causing celebrations around the world.) Sandpoint organized a bigger, better celebration that took place on July 11, 1919, by which time most servicemen and women had arrived home. The Spokesman-Review reported 8,000 people gathered in Sandpoint to watch “a parade of 450 soldiers and Marines in uniform, divided into two companies led by Captain Matthiensen and Captain John A. Humbird,” plus a small company of elderly Civil War vets and groups like the Red Cross, YWCA, and Salvation

Army. A homecoming celebration organized by the Elks Club and the American Legion included a banquet, a baseball game, a boxing contest, an Indian powwow, a vaudeville performance, and a dance. In addition to those in active service, local farmers, ranchers, and loggers worked hard to meet wartime demand for agricultural and forest products. Everyday citizens got involved; they planted “Liberty Gardens,” conserved food, stepped up to fill labor shortages, donated to war bond drives, met trainloads of soldiers with refreshments, and performed countless other duties. And then it was over. In November 1919, Armistice Day “passed with happy events,” reported the Pend Oreille Review. Although the weather was deemed too cold for a parade, a football game between the high school and the Gonzaga second team, and a grand ball at the Liberty Theater (originally the Rink Opera House, now the site of Kochava on Church Street) highlighted what the newspaper called “the first anniversary of the fall of the Hun.” Today in the United States, Armistice Day has become Veterans Day and it honors veterans of all wars. But at the end of that first worldwide war, close to 800 of our county residents had served overseas, many with the 146th Field Artillery in France. Twentytwo of our community gave their lives, their names preserved on a plaque at War Memorial Field so that none may forget.

Group in front of Crescent Pharmacy in Sandpoint all with American flags, just before Armistice Day parade. Names from left to right: Maxine “Minnie” Mason, Grace Peterson, Mr. Rebsdale, Mildred, Bee Smithson, Miss O’Dell and Iva Mason. Photo from the Bonner County History Museum archives. W I N T E R 2 0 1 9 | S A N D P O I N T M AG A Z I N E

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Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2019  

Our wild neighbors! Sandpoint, it can be said, is where the wild things are, and you can read some great information about a few of those wi...

Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2019  

Our wild neighbors! Sandpoint, it can be said, is where the wild things are, and you can read some great information about a few of those wi...

Profile for keokee