Those days, Old Glory commanded respect

by Juanita Lovret
Reprinted courtesy of the Tustin News (November 8, 2007)


 

Tustinís Armistice Day parade in 1923 included a float called Blue and Gray sponsored by the Tustin Knights of Pythias. Charlie Logan, Harry Kiser, Harold Taylor, Ed Helt, Grover Riehl, George Smith, Vern Tatum (left to right) wore uniforms from the Civil War. Walter Perozzi
and Ed Kiser stand by the truck.

Veterans Day on Nov. 11 was once called Armistice Day to commemorate cessation of hostilities between the Allies and Germany on Nov. 11, 1918. Armistice Day originated in 1919 and became a national holiday in 1938. It was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all U.S. war veterans.

Schools, commerce and government once halted to honor those who had served in ďthe war to end all wars.Ē

Following the example of the national observance at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C., many Tustin, Santa Ana and Orange residents gathered for memorial services and the placing of a wreath at the monument guarding the entrance to the Santa Ana Cemetery. This done, solemnity gave way to exuberant patriotism as everyone headed for the annual Armistice Day parade.

The larger cities of the county eventually took turns hosting a countywide event, replacing celebrations by individual towns. Patriotic floats, open cars bearing proud heroes back in uniform with medals gleaming on their khaki tunics, American Legion groups, marching military units, soul-stirring bands, drum and bugle corps, all paraded with the stars and stripes flying.

Applause and cheers greeted all the military men whether they were veterans or recent recruits. Many of the veterans were from Santa Anaís National Guard Unit, Company L, which played an important part in World War I, especially in the battle of Argonne Forest. Tustin had a number of men serving in Company L, including Nelson Holderman, a Medal of Honor recipient.

Those were the days when men, women and children snapped to attention while the flag passed by. Males snatched off their hats and caps, holding them reverently over their hearts. Females stood erect, arms at their sides or placed their right hands over their hearts. No one talked or even whispered. Old Glory commanded respect. American Legion posts from throughout the county always took part in the parades. The American Legion, the largest veteranís organization in the world with a membership of nearly 3 million wartime veterans in the United States, District of Columbia and four foreign countries, was founded and organized in 1919.

Tustinís American Legion Post 227 was established in March of 1964. For more than 40 years they have been active in Tustin, sponsoring and supporting veterans and their families to promote the awareness of the role veterans, both past and present, play in securing the freedoms and liberties that sustain our country. This is done by communication, fund-raising, and the sponsorship of programs and events such as sending students to Sacramento for Boys and Girls State, disposing of tattered flags, maintaining the War Memorial Building on the southwest corner of First and Prospect and, in recent years, organizing a Veterans Day celebration.

This yearís event will be held on Sunday, Nov. 11. Grand Marshal Ed Alvarez will lead a procession of military vehicles and color guards to Peppertree Park in Old Town at 1 p.m. A USOstyle show will begin at 1:30 p.m. with entertainment until 4:15 p.m.
 

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