Pine Bluff and White Hall helped celebrate Armistice Day and Veterans Day at the Pine Bluff Jefferson County Historical Museum and White Hall Museum, respectively, as veterans came together to participate in ceremonies on their behalf on Sunday.
“We must understand our past, so that we do not make those mistakes again,” said John Mitchell, a Navy veteran who oversaw the 10 a.m. Armistice Day celebration at the Pine Bluff Jefferson County Historical Museum.
Armistice Day, nationally recognized on Nov. 11 of each year, marks the end of World War I in 1918.
According to Mitchell, Armistice Day is not to be mistaken with Veterans Day, although they often coincide with one another.
The Pine Bluff Historical Museum sounded a bell 100 times to commemorate the day and honor those who served their country.
A second ceremony recognizing veterans for Veterans Day was held at the White Hall Museum. It began at 2 p.m. with a motorcycle ride-in.
“Veterans Day is a celebration for all those who have served and continue to serve our nation with honor and distinction,” said Col. Luis A. Ortiz, commander of the Pine Bluff Arsenal, during his remarks outside of the White Hall Museum. “Each year, we set this day aside across the country to celebrate and pay tribute to American veterans for their devotion, patriotism, selfless service, and sacrifice on behalf of all of us. Their loyalty and great courage have made us what we are today.”
Various Veterans Day ceremonies were also held around the state over the weekend.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued the following statement regarding Veterans Day:
“Sadly, that was not the end of the wars that we would be called upon to fight. When tyranny threatens freedom, the world looks to the United States. Throughout our history as a nation, we have answered the call. Arkansas is home to thousands of men and women who have left the safe harbor of home as a member of our military. On Veterans Day 2018, I would like to honor the Arkansans who have made that sacrifice. Thank you for all you have done and continue to do to for Arkansas and for the United States.”
Hutchinson participated in a Veterans Day ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday at the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military, 503 E 9th Street in Little Rock. He also released a video honoring veterans.
In 2016, Hutchinson created the World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee.
The committee organized a statewide bell-ringing ceremony Sunday. The Little Rock ceremony was held at the MacArthur Museum. Hutchinson proclaimed Sunday “Bells of Peace: World War I Remembrance Day.”
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a statement on Monday that “Today we pause to recognize the brave men and women who have served this great nation as a member of the armed forces protecting our freedoms at home and abroad. I humbly join Arkansans in celebrating our military service members from every branch, along with their families. Their commitment has helped ensure the United States has the greatest military ever seen in the world and we are eternally grateful for their service.”
U.S. Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas also issued a statement, saying, “One hundred years ago today, the Great War came to an end. We are forever indebted to those who fought against tyranny and evil in that war and all those who fought before them. That’s why today we honor the service of all our veterans; the brave men and women who put our freedom ahead of all else in times of war and in times of peace. Their strength, bravery, and patriotism sustain our country, even in the most trying times. We owe them a debt of gratitude we can never fully repay. But on Veterans Day we can pause to show our gratitude and remember all they have done for us.”