Dear Diary — Another Armistice Day. Exactly twenty-three years ago today the great guns ceased and the white dove of peace flew over the bloody battlefields of France. Last night I saw “Hell’s Angels” at the Webbo, an old picture, but with excellent fight scenes. Photography has certainly improved, as well as make-up, action and unity of plot. There was a short subject on American history and was very interesting. I came the very nearest I ever have to swearing when it showed the horrors of war in Spain and China — little children, Barbara’s age and younger, hobbling around with crutches — legless, armless. It was so pitiful, and so maddening! I nearly screamed!
This morning dawned bright and cold — I was glad the weather had improved for the sake of the parade, the Legion program, and the game, but I love cloudy Armistice Days — they seem more in keeping with the feelings you have (or I do) on that day. Slept till 8:30, due to no school. Daddy left about 9:30 to tend to some business (the parade was scheduled for 10:15). I kept the home fires burning while Mother went next-door to seek Clure’s aid in concocting a salad for the Legion “feed.” Then, just before I left for school, I went over my piece once more, and got Mother’s stamp of approval.
At 10:15, dressed in Glee Club uniform, I arrived in the high school gym, where the other members were also gathered. Rufus was beginning to get nervous. We went over our two pieces once and then started for the auditorium. Before we left Mr. Walters came in with his camera, having been too late to get a picture of the parade (for the Arrow). He is quite good-looking, but for some reason I don’t like him. Perhaps it is because I’m off all members of the male sex for life! Anyway, when we got to the auditorium there were quite a few people there and the State Guard (Home Guard, I suppose it should be called), Legion, Drill Team (part of it) had already assembled, the parade being over. Ruth and I, with the help of Clay, got the piano on the stage opened and the bench transplanted from the other piano to that one. Then we sat down front until the speaker, Daddy, and others went up on the stage, and we followed.
About ten till 11:00 Daddy (Commander of the Legion) asked for the colors to be advanced and Mr. Adkisson, a veteran of the last war, and his son, who is in the present army, carried the two American flags to the platform. It was very impressive. Then the chaplain of the post, Mr. Taylor, gave a beautiful invocation, followed by the singing (group) of “America” (two stanzas), with me trying to carry the men in front along, who didn’t seem exactly sure of the words. At 11:00 Bobby Rutherford, also on the stage, arose and stepped to the front. We all faced the west with him, as he played “Taps.” It certainly put me in the right mood for my reading, which was next on the program.
Ruth sat down at the piano and I went to the edge of the stage and announced “The Unknown Soldier” by Billy Rose, to the accompaniment of “I Wonder Where My Buddies Are Tonight.” Silence — I waited for Ruth and she waited for me. After what seemed an hour to me, but what in reality was only a few seconds, I gave up and plunged in, Ruth following. I wasn’t a bit nervous, and dared to look people right in the face, as I asked my questions from side to side. Rufus didn’t play the bugle call as I had expected her to, but it didn’t matter. And she ended up fine, a moment after I had finished, with the chorded climax. Instead of standing there until she finished, I forgot myself and turn to go off, but remembered just in time, and waited. We got quite a good hand as we left the stage to take our seats with the Glee Club. As I stepped over Jean Robinson she whispered a nice compliment.
Then, out of place (the Glee Club was scheduled to sing at that point) Mr. Smalley, after reading a poem suitable to the occasion, introduced the speaker, Mr. Dausset, past State Commander. He immediately mentioned “that beautiful musical reading” just rendered, which was very nice of him. He is a fine speaker, but “carried on” just a bit too long, repeating himself rather frequently, and some of us began to get restless. I was on the verge of doing something desperate when he at last took his seat and the Glee Club was introduced. Oh, yes, once during his speech, my mind wandered and when I came to, everyone was clapping. A fine time to day-dream!
Well, the Glee Club rose to the occasion, and we took our places in front of the stage, below it. Our numbers were “Taps ’Til Reveille,” and “God of Our Fathers.” I looked out in the sea of faces when my courage permitted, and there near the back was little Barbara, sitting dreamily on her mother’s lap. She showed all the signs of having just awakened. We were then asked to lead the audience in singing the national anthem. Jean Robinson, next to me, took my hand, and I felt so nice and friendly inside. I sang with all my heart, with my eyes on the flag draped in the center of the balcony. Mr. Taylor then delivered the benediction and the program was over. We Glee Clubers went back to our seats for wraps, etc.