Cambria’s traditional Veterans Day celebration on Tuesday, Nov. 11, takes on special meaning this year because exactly 100 years earlier, a battle was ending that dashed hopes for a quick end to a European conflict and eventually drew America into World War I.
Cambrians and visitors are invited to join members of American Legion Post No. 432 and community volunteers for an entertaining program of military pomp, patriotic music, and a buffet lunch at the Veterans Memorial Building, 1000 Main Street.
Activities will begin at the customary 11 a.m., the time at which an armistice ended fighting on the western front Nov. 11, 1918. Originally called Armistice Day, the legal holiday’s name was changed to Veterans Day in 1954.
Post 432 Commander David Ehlers will officiate. An honor guard led by Dan Rivera will post the national colors, followed by military veterans including Lu Estrada, Dan Cowels, Lou Fedor, Jerry McKinnon, and Walter Stacy presenting the service flags, escorted by members of Boy Scout Troop 217. Melanie Gruber will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The Cambria Men’s Chorus, led by Randy Schwalbe, will sing the military services’ songs, along with “America the Beautiful” and “God Bless America.”
Bob Wilson, a retired Army colonel, will be the featured speaker. Local Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and the Cambria 4H Club will also participate.
Sons of the American Legion and the American Legion Auxiliary will serve barbecued burgers following the formal program. A $5 donation is requested.
For history buffs, the First Battle of Ypres was fought over a strategically important town in Belgium that blocked the German army’s path to French ports on the English Channel. Imperial Germany had invaded neutral Belgium on Aug. 4, 1914, and was halted at the Marne River outside Paris in September. The subsequent battle at Ypres effectively ended mobile warfare and set the stage for static trench fighting for the next three years. The United States entered the war in April 1917.