Friday, November 11, 2011

Celebrating Veterans Day

In honor of Veteran's Day, we would like to share just a few of the photographs and memorabilia related to local veterans and Veterans Day in our collections:

The first page of a letter from Edna Pilling, a teacher living in Scotia, to Private Joseph Memelo, written on Armistice Day, November 11, 1918. Pilling describes the celebration in Schenectady. "At 3 or thereabouts this morning, bells and whistles made things lively - and things have been lively ever since," Pilling writes. "Stores, schools, shops, everything closed. The streets crowded. Parades as early as 8 o'clock this morning, and still more parades. The Italian parade was especially fine . . . It has been a beautiful November day - full of sunshine and warmth - a fitting day for so much joy" (Letter from the Larry Hart Collection). After World War II, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day and its purpose changed to honor all United States veterans.

Civil War veterans from the Horsfall Post of the Grand Army of the Republic, ca. 1930s.
From the Grems-Doolittle Library Photograph Collection.

David H. Coulter of Schenectady, one of the last surviving veterans of the Spanish-American War, displays a medal he received for his service in the Philippines. In 1978 Coulter, at age 98, led the annual Veterans Day parade. "I never got above a buck private," said Coulter during a 1978 interview. Photograph from the Larry Hart Collection.

Local servicemen celebrate Victory in the Pacific Day on August 14, 1945 in Schenectady.
From the Grems-Doolittle Library Photograph Collection.

Members of the Last Man's Club, a World War I veterans' organization in Scotia, pose at the American Legion Hall around 1955.
Photograph from the Larry Hart Collection.

Program for the first annual ball of the Schenectady Washington Continentals in 1855. The unit, formed in 1839, served in the Mexican War. It was disbanded during the Civil War, but reformed afterwards. From the Grems-Doolittle Library Documents Collection.

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