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Letters to the Editor: Essential for us to remember no one wins in war

You may have heard church bells ringing Nov. 11 at 11 a.m., the date and hour 100 years ago when the Armistice was signed in France, signaling the cessation of hostilities in World War I.

Many will remember hearing a parent or grandparent speak of church and school bells ringing and factory whistles blowing on that morning long ago, announcing the end of that war in which millions of soldiers from nations around the globe fought and perished.

Also, on Sunday, at the American Legion Post 76 Walter B. Hill Event Center, the Stanly County Historical Society, with veterans service organizations in Stanly, celebrated the Armistice and remembered those military service members who sailed to France in 1917 and 1918 to fight in that war, many of whom lost their lives and limbs doing so.

Thanks to the participation and effort of dozens of citizens, including youth, from our community and elsewhere, and the 150-plus citizens who attended the program, “World War I Remembered” was a success.

After Russia and its allies fighting on the Eastern Front surrendered on April 1, 1917 to Germany and its allies, President Woodrow Wilson addressed Congress the following day, seeking a Declaration of War against Germany. Congress did so, and the USA joined forces with the Allied Powers — France, Belgium, Great Britain, and dozens of other countries — in their war against the Central Powers.

With the arrival of the American Expeditionary Force in France, the tide of battle began to turn against the Germans and the Central Powers, the result eventually bringing an end to the war. Peace was attained. Sadly, that peace was not maintained for long, and World War II followed two decades later.

Those times and events are to be remembered. They teach lessons that can be invaluable to current civilizations, and to future civilizations the world over.

The participation of youth in last Sunday’s observance is important, more so than one might think.

It is likely these youth — from West Stanly High School’s Air Force Jr. ROTC color guard, the Boy Scouts of Troop 191 who led the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and the 14 ladies who greeted and pinned poppies on lapels of those in attendance and wore sashes representing Allied Powers countries — will remember Sunday’s observance throughout their lives and one day recall their experience with their children, grandchildren and others.

It is essential for us to remember and not to lose sight of the fact that no one wins in war. Striving for peace must be our mission. Nations must work to maintain peaceful relations, similar to school systems and communities doing so each day in the face of conflict and chaos.

A World War I exhibit including artifacts, documents and photographs is currently featured in the Stanly County History Center, located at 157 N. Second St. in Albemarle. The History Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on first Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Pat Bramlett, Les Young
and Mickey Drye,
Stanly County Historical Society

planning committee for “World War I Remembered”