The observation begins at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in the 11th year of the 21st Century on the Courthouse Plaza.
The Cleveland High School Band will play a patriotic medley until the opening of the program with the local tradition of ringing the plow share by Eddie Cartwright. That will be followed by the call to order and posting the colors by Bradley Central High School Junior ROTC cadets and the National Anthem by the high school band.
The invocation will be prayed by the Rev. Edward Robinson, pastor of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, president of Bradley Cleveland Ministerial Association; and Vietnam veteran. Prayer will be followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Katherine Dowdy, chair of the Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs 3rd District Blue Star Marker program.
Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland will introduce dignitaries and guest speaker retired Army Col. Robert J. Jenkins. The ordained Church of God bishop represented the denomination as its senior Army chaplain until his retirement from active duty in 2003.
His remarks will be followed by the dedication of the Blue Star Memorial Marker and presentation of the gift to Bradley County by Aldersgate Garden Club co-chairs Charlotte Scott and Lelia Ware; Joyce Merritt, Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs 2009-10 District 3 director; Valerie Tipps, TFGC president; Jo Lawrence, TFGC District 3 state chair; Monique Lewis, District 3 director; Billie Blair, president, Aldersgate Garden Club; and Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis will accept the marker.
Following the short marker dedication, former Korean War MIA/POW Bill Norwood will present the Raymond H. Miller Patriotic Award and certificates of appreciation presented by Ware.
Rowland is to make closing remarks, followed by the benediction by Pastor Robinson. The observance will draw to a close with a 21-gun salute by the Bradley County Veterans Firing Squad; the playing of taps by CHS band; and retrieval of the colors by the JROTC.
The first observance, Nov. 11, 1919, was proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson. Armistice Day, as it was called, was a day of reflection filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in America’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 …”
The original concept was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m. to mark the cessation of hostilities in World War I.
Although the “The Great War” officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919, fighting ceased seven months earlier when a temporary cessation of hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.
For that reason, Nov. 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
Armistice Day was declared a legal holiday dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.”
Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but after World War II required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the nation’s history; and after American forces fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, the 11th of November became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
On Oct. 8, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation.”
The Blue Star became an icon in World War II and was seen on flags and banners in homes for sons and daughters away at war, as well as in churches and businesses.
The Blue Star Memorial Program began as a means of honoring servicemen and women with the planting of 8,000 dogwood trees by the New Jersey Council of Garden Clubs in 1944 as a living memorial to veterans of World War II.
In 1945, the National Council of State Garden Clubs adopted the program and began a Blue Star Highway system covering thousands of miles in all 50 states.
The program was expanded to include all men and women who had served, were serving or would serve in the armed services of the United States. Memorial and By-Way markers were added to the Highway Markers for placing at national cemeteries, parks, veteran’s facilities and gardens.