Inyo to honor veterans
The end of World War I, the “War to End All Wars,” was made official by the Treaty of Versailes, signed in June of 1919. However the fighting ceased at 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, 1918, when an armistice went into affect between the allied nations and Germany.
When President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 at Armistice Day in 1919, he said, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations ...” according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
The day became a celebration of veterans in 1938, originally for World War I veterans, but that changed when World War II veterans returned home. President Dwight Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation in 1954.
“In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose …” Eisenhower said.
Ever since, Veterans Day, Nov. 11, has set aside to recognize the sacrifice of United States military veterans.
On Friday, communities throughout Inyo County will do just that, honor those who fought on the country’s behalf.
The Bishop VFW Post No. 8988 and American Legion will be placing flags throughout downtown Bishop beginning at 7 a.m. at the VFW, 484 Short St. Volunteers always are welcome to participate.
The Veterans Day ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at Pioneer Cemetery on W. Line Street.
The Bishop Veterans Day ceremony will be followed by an honor guard to honor veteran Mark T. Hilliard, a member of the First Utah Calvary who fought in the Spanish American War in 1898.
Jim Snyder, commander of the Bishop VFW, explained that the VFW was contacted by someone who had somehow ended up with Hilliard’s tombstone, which had been stolen from his grave sometime after his death in 1926. The stone had been found underneath the floorboards of the Inyo Mono Lumber Company before it was demolished several years ago.
The stone was given to the VFW, which wanted to do something to honor their fellow veteran.
Snyder said Hilliard passed away in Lone Pine, but his body was taken to one of Bishop’s cemeteries, although it’s unknown which one. With this in mind, the Bishop VFW and the cemetery district placed the headstone in Pioneer Cemetery.
“After that matter of disrespect, having his tombstone taken, we are going to have a full honor guard with a rifle salute, a prayer from our chaplain and play taps,” Snyder said.
The VFW Auxiliary will serve lunch at the VFW post after the ceremony.
The Big Pine American Legion Glacier Post No. 457 will be placing American flags at the headstone of each veteran at 8 a.m. at the Big Pine Cemetery, followed by placing flags at each veteran’s headstone at the Woodman Cemetery. Volunteers are encouraged to participate.
Rick Fields, commander of the Big Pine American Legion estimates that there are over 100 veterans graves in the Big Pine area.
“It’s a nice thing to get the kids involved in, explain Veterans Day to them, and it’s a great opportunity for everyone to come out and honor our veterans,” Fields said.
At 10 a.m., a dedication will take place at the Big Pine Cemetery for a new plaque recognizing veterans who are interred in the Big Pine area.
A Veterans Day ceremony will take place at 11 a.m. at the Big Pine Veterans Memorial located at the intersection of Highway 395 and Highway 168 E. Colonel Bob Waggoner of Bishop will be the guest speaker for the ceremony, Fields said.
Lunch will be served at the Big Pine Town Hall following the service, courtesy of the Big Pine American Legion and Auxiliary for veterans, their families and guests.
The Comrades of the Lone Pine VFW Post No. 8036 will be hosing a Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. at Mt. Whitney Cemetery.