One hundred years ago on Sunday the war that was supposed to end all wars was over. Shouts of joy echoed the world. World War I, which began in 1914, was fought in the filthy trenches across battlefields in Europe and in the thick forests lacing the countryside. It was fought in the air and on the seas. 

Precisely at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month Nov. 11, 1918, peace was declared and out of peace Armistice Day was born in America. 

Bedlam erupted on the streets in cities across the land of the free. Johnny, the symbol of every doughboy who went to war, would come marching home again. The cities of Marinette and Menominee opened their hearts to every Johnny solider who served in what became known as the Great War. The Marinette Eagle-Star and the Menominee Herald-Leader, rivals in business of selling newspapers, came together and published special editions to celebrate the monumental date in history.

U.S. participation in the war was brief compared to her allies in Europe. More than two million U.S. troops served in Europe during WWI. The Yanks, as they were famously known when they went to war, entered conflict on April 6, 1917, and there was little doubt that the muscle of Johnny, the soldiers military machine, was too much for Germany and her allies in Europe. 

Scores of families in our area have scrapbooks with photos and newspaper clippings of the sacrifices their ancestors made during 18 months of conflict. We can’t help but pat the backs of our forefathers in the newspaper industry for publishing two well-documented books about the contributions of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, and the wave of volunteers on the home-front who work behind the scenes in the war effort. 

The present-day segment of our elderly is actually the first generation of forebears who came along after WWI. They read the newspapers and books, and listened to the stories of the Yanks who came marching home. 

Armistice Day is now Veterans Day. Americans will pause Sunday to salute all veterans of all wars and all military service whether in war or in peace. And, let us give special thanks to the old doughboys of 100 years ago.