Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day

The 11th hour, the 11th month, the 11th Day. Armistice Day. The end of the Great War, the war to end all wars.
I wonder where (great) Uncle Eddie was that day? What was he doing? And what about the rest of the family? We know that most of those were in Calvert, with the exception of those who remained in the Old Country (Prussia and Germany) when Eddie's parents came to the United States in the mid 1800s, after the Civil War. (And we don't know who those are.) I always wondered how Eddie and others might have felt, knowing that they were going to have to fight people from their parents' homeland, and possibly their own relatives.
Eddie's name is one of the over 170 Brazos Valley area veterans whose names have just been added to the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial. There are over 4,000 names on the Memorial now. There will be an unveiling and dedication at 6 p.m. today at the Memorial, complete with the Ross Volunteers and others participating in the ceremonies. Chet Edwards is going to speak. And there will be a barbeque, all to pay tribute and honor to our veterans.
In the rotunda at the George Bush Library, a chorus will be singing starting in just a few minutes.
There was a parade downtown on Sunday, along with a show of military equipment, a mini veterans museum, and other activities. It doesn't feel quite right to not have a parade on the actual day, to me. I guess there is too much going on at one time.
There are other activites that involve the local veteran's groups today. One is at a large retirement center.
We thought a while about adding Eddie's name to the Memorial, but felt that he needed to be on there. It cost a minimum of $100 to add a name. My aunt had already added her brother's name when the memorial was built. Irvin served in the 88th Infantry Division (The Blue Devils) during WWII. Eddie was in the 3rd Infantry Division in the Army in WWI.
One of these days, we need to get Eddie's service record from the NARA. Maybe we can learn more about him. It seems we know so little, and I have found such few pictures with him in it. I wouldn't have known who he was, if his sister, Hulda, had not told me, years ago. I've only found one photo of him, working in his father's grocery store, and another in a family portrait. To have a picture of just Eddie, I isolated his image and saved it that way from the family portrait. I wish I could find a picture of him in his uniform. Lacking that, we may be able to use a picture of a WWI Army uniform and paint a portrait of him in the uniform. One reason that there may be so little about him is that he never married or had children, like many in our family.
I only know one little story about him, that his sister told me. When they were growing up, she was the only girl among several boys, so she liked to play with them, run, jump, climb, play ball, and all those unladylike things. She said that the boys were "a sight" and mischievious. Always into something.
One time, the parents decided that the boys should take violin lessons, and sent them for private lessons with a man in town. The boys didn't want to go, and balked and protested, but went to their lesson. Eddie was determined to go home and play ball, so when the teacher went out of the room, Eddie peed in the teacher's violin case, and ran home. He didn't have to go for any more violin lessons!
I don't think he was punished. I think that everyone got the message that Eddie didn't want to take violin lessons!
Eddie worked in his father's grocery store on Main Street in Calvert and did some farming.
He served in the U.S. Army during WWI, a private in the 3rd Infantry, according to his tombstone.
He died of pneumonia, a complication of the flu at age 45 in 1933, according to his death certificate.
It's a beautiful day, now, but rain is predicted. I hope that it will hold off for the ceremonies this evening. We won't go, if the weather turns bad. We certainly need to be there to represent Eddie's and Irvin's family, though.
I never knew Eddie, since he died a few years before I was born. But, of course, I knew some of his brothers and sister, Emil, my grandfather, Hulda, my great-aunt, Rudolph, Paul, and Gustave, my great-uncles. Another of Eddie's brothers, Otto, was killed at about age 6 when a train cut off his legs.
From their photos, Eddie and Paul look a lot alike. I do remember Paul, somewhat. He painted houses and put up wall paper in them. I remember when he wall papered and painted our new little house. I mostly remember his white painter's outfit and his pants legs, as I was not yet four years old at the time! I stayed right beside him while he worked on my bedroom. I remember him telling me about how to avoid having drips in the paint. He was nice and I was sad when he was through with his job and went on to work on someone else's house.
Only one person in each generation since has married and had children.
Today, we are remembering Eddie, Irvin, and all the veterans, on this veterans day.
Top Photo: An Armistice Day Parade in Calvert, Texas Date and subjects unknown. Private family photo.
Middle Photo: Conitz Grocery Store 407 Main St. Calvert, Texas Eddie Conitz, left, Emil Conitz Sr., right. Private family photo.
Bottom Photo: Portrait of Eddie Julius from family portrait. About 1909.
Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial http://bvvm.org/
You can click on the top two photos to enlarge them. I don't know why the bottom one won't enlarge. Also, you can click on the photo in my sidebar of the Armistice Day Parade, and that will take you to the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial site. It does not list the names of the veterans whose names appear on the wall, however. You have to go to the Memorial to find those names, I was told.
There is a book that looks like a yearbook, "The Men and Women of World War II from Robertson County" that has many names and a little biography for each name and picture of veterans from Robertson County, Texas.


BC said...

Wow! What a parade that must have been! Loved that float...

Cecelia said...

I've been trying to figure out which street this was on. I think that must be one of the big Gibson houses with the tall roof and chimneys. We'll have to look. Notice that it was in town and not on Main Street, which I thought was unuusual.