It was a long time ago that our men (mostly) fought in the Great War - the War to end all Wars. Sadly that war did not end all wars. More than anything WWI ended a way of life in much of the world and created the 20th Century. I would have liked that way of life - a time when there was more time to be with other people. It wasn't perfect - there was more disease and death and few modern conveniences. Still - read Shaw's Heartbreak House and you get a glimpse of that way of life.
This article was printed in The News - the Democrat newspaper - in 1918 describing what happened in my hometown of Berkeley Springs, WV when word came that the Armistice had been signed and there was peace and that the sons of many would be coming home.
Mr. P.R. Lawyer mentioned in the article is my great-grandfather. His older son (Herbert Lawyer, left photo) served in the army (and played euphonium in the band) in France during WWI.
Many thanks to our veterans who have served over the years and a continued prayer for peace everywhere.
Early on Monday morning the ringing of bells and blowing of whistles proclaimed the confirmation of the signing of the Armistice and very soon the streets were thronged with happy people.
The pupils of Mt Wesley and North Berkeley schools, with their teachers formed in line and about ten o'clock marched up Washington Street and back to the square with waving flags and banners. They were joined in line of march by numbers of autos whose occupants were waving flags and blowing horns.
As the parade came around the grass plot on Fairfax street, Mr. P. R Lawyer came out to the street, and with tear dimmed eyes, played "Joy to the World" on his cornet, a most touching incident.
A number of speeches were made from the Court House steps, one gentleman saying, We will have our big celebration when our boys come home, and the applause was deafening.
During the afternoon flags and bunting were displayed everywhere: electric lights were strung across the square and by seven o'clock the town was alight. All business houses and private homes were illuminated and streets full of people.
A parade formed at the depot led by the City Band, supplemented by members of the Greenwood Band and marshalled by Messrs, J.A. Proctor and W.O. Hughes. Miss Portia Sallade, in khaki uniform represented “A Girl of Today” and Miss Maude Bechtol represented "Joan of Arc." The Red Cross and Y.W. C. A. were well represented by young ladies carrying banners and were followed by the Boy Scouts. Bunting and flag trimmed autos, trucks with occupants in fancy costume, all tooting horns and waving flags, and a Red Cross-float, with Miss Pauline Sallade as a Red Cross nurse, supporting a wounded soldier attracted much attention.
At 8:30 a huge bonfire was lighted on the level in front of Mr. F. R. Reed's residence.
Everyone was joyous and yet through it all ran a strain of sadness, in the thought of those whose loved ones will not come home. It was a great celebration and a day long to be remembered.