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Veterans Day in San Antonio

November 11, 2014

Veterans Day observances this year included the annual Veterans Parade downtown, a wreath-laying ceremony at the Alamo, programs at both national cemeteries, and a week of events at the University of Texas at San Antonio http://utsa.edu/today/2014/11/veteransday14.html. We use the occasion to look back at previous commemorations of Veterans Day (known as “Armistice Day” until 1954).

News accounts describe the first observance, November 11, 1919, as a full day of activities that began after a large crowd assembled in front of the Alamo. At the exact time of the signing of the armistice, bi- planes from Kelly Field suddenly appeared high above the city and gradually circled lower until they dropped flowers as a tribute to those who lost their lives during the War. After the planes retreated, there was a program of speakers and musical selections, followed by a large military and civic parade. Later in the afternoon, there was a football game between the Kelly Field and the YMCA teams. In the evening, there was a band concert in San Pedro Park.

While we do not have any photographs of that first Armistice Day, there are images of subsequent observances in San Antonio. Here are a few examples from the San Antonio Light (MS 359) and San Antonio Express-News (MS 360) collections.

 

Armistice Day Parade turns off Commerce Street to Alamo Street, 1924. (MS 359: L-0018-I)

Armistice Day Parade turns off Commerce Street to Alamo Street, 1924. (MS 359: L-0018-I)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Armistice Day 1938, C. H. Collins demonstrates how he blew the Alamo Iron Works whistle to notify San Antonio residents of the signing of the Armistice in 1918.   (MS 359: L-1973-H)

C. H. Collins observes the 20th anniversary of the end of World War I by demonstrating how he blew the Alamo Iron Works whistle to notify San Antonio residents of the signing of the armistice, Armistice Day, 1938.  (MS 359: L-1973-H)

A large crowd watches the first Armistice Day parade following the end of World War II, 1945.  (MS 359:  L-3180-C)

A large crowd watches the first Armistice Day parade following the end of World War II, 1945. (MS 359: L-3180-C)

Tanks on Houston Street, Armistice Day, 1946  (MS 359:  L-3312-E)

Tanks on Houston Street, Armistice Day, 1946 (MS 359: L-3312-E)

A captured German V-2 Rocket featured in the Armistice Day Parade of 1946.  (MS 359:  L-3312-H)

A captured German V-2 Rocket is featured in the Armistice Day Parade of 1946. (MS 359: L-3312-H)

John Van Brant, in Spirit of ’76 costume, rides with two veterans in the 1975 Veterans Day Parade  (MS 360:  E-0036-170)

John Van Brant, in Spirit of ’76 costume, rides with two veterans in the 1975 Veterans Day Parade (MS 360: E-0036-170)

Thomas Jefferson High school band on Alamo Plaza, Veterans Day Parade, November 11, 1978  (MS 360:  E-0049-099)

High school band on Alamo Plaza, Veterans Day Parade, November 11, 1978 (MS 360: E-0049-099)

Young spectators at Veteran’s Day Parade, 1983  (MS 360:  E-0194-028-02)

Young spectators at Veteran’s Day Parade, 1983 (MS 360: E-0194-028-02)

Veteran’s Day Parade on Alamo Plaza, 1985  (MS 360:  E-321-097-10)

Veteran’s Day Parade, 1985 (MS 360: E-321-097-10)

Vietnam veterans in 1985 parade.   (MS 360:  E-1985-11-11-3)

Vietnam veterans in 1985 parade. (MS 360: E-1985-11-11-3)

Veteran’s Day Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, 1989.  (MS 359:  L-7272-26-32)

Veteran’s Day Ceremony at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, 1989. (MS 359: L-7272-26-32)

Miles Wasson (left) visits with another World War I veteran at Fort Sam Houston ceremony, 1989.  (MS 359:  L-7272-26-25)

Miles Wasson (left) visits with a fellow World War I veteran at the Fort Sam Houston ceremony, 1989. (MS 359: L-7272-26-25)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Marian Martinello permalink
    November 11, 2014 2:01 pm

    Thank you for these photos of Armistice or Veteran’s Day celebrations of past eras. They are reminders of all that we owe our service men and women throughout our history.

Trackbacks

  1. Remembering the Honorable Dead: The Tumultuous History of Armistice Day – The Activist History Review

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