Veterans Day is the day that is set aside to remember all American veterans who have served. The history of the holiday traces back to 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, of when an armistice was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I. The holiday became a federal holiday in 1938, and after the Korean War Armistice Day became known as Veterans Day.
Veterans Day is an important day for all of us to remember those who have lost our lives and thank those who are serving the country today. The day is marked by parades and commemorative ceremonies, the laying of the wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier is one of those ceremonies that will take place. We have our memorial to the veterans here in Indiana County, located behind the Historical Society in Memorial Park. In the center of the park stands a doughboy statue that was dedicated on Memorial Day 1925.
The doughboy in Memorial Park was made possible thanks to many community members including: Alex Stewart (Jimmy Stewart’s father), Steele Ober, A.F. Blessing, Samuel Wolfe, Harry Campbell, George K. Clark, Edgar Walker and Richard Watson. The column upon which the statue sits was originally part of the old Farmers’ Bank building on Philadelphia Street. Interestingly, it took a lot for the citizens of Indiana to put the statue up at the current site.
The land was owned, acquired by a gift, by the Lutheran church on which they began to construct a church, but ran short of funds and then planned to sell the trees and part of land to finance building on another part. A group of local veterans opposed selling the land and mounted a campaign to erect a memorial on the property. Part of the group, led by Alex Stewart, began digging a hole for the pedestal’s foundation. Later that night the church group, filled in the hole; and once again the group dug the hole and the church group filled it in again. However, this time the group erected a fence and placed a no trespassing sign at the site. Eventually Indiana bought the land and the Doughboy statute was placed where Stewart and the group wanted it to be placed.
This Veterans Day enjoy the parade, and if you have time visit the Historical Society Museum where we have a wonderful display on the second floor dedicated to all Indiana County Veterans. Remember those who have lost their lives and thank those that are currently serving and have served. From the staff and volunteers at the Historical Society we thank our veterans!