Moments before Staunton's Veterans Day parade got underway, a Woodrow Wilson impersonator delivered the speech Wilson gave at the end of World War I.
Like it was 94 years ago, the speech happened at exactly 11 in the morning. At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, Armistice Day was declared. It would later be renamed Veterans Day after the second World War.
"It was to remind them of the sacrifices that are made not only by our servicemen, but by the whole country, their families," said Judd Bankert, impersonating the 28th President of the United States. "The power and the courage of these veterans who are willing to step forward when the country them most. "
Celebrations of those Veterans are taking place across the country this weekend. But in Staunton the remembrance takes on a different form. Before the parade the entire city takes part in two minutes of silence led by the former President and Mayor Lacy King.
"I just think it's important that we stop and reflect and remember that because it is one tremendous sacrifice that men and women have made throughout the beginning of this country," said King.
Leaders like Michael Dickens, Chairman of the Board for the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library, are hoping Staunton will be remembered as a trailblazer in the remembrance of our Veterans.
"We would like to see it go statewide and national," he said. "Last year there was a resolution passed in the state legislature, I believe, to encourage communities around the state to observe the two minutes of silence. We hope that with Staunton leading the way, that more communities will observe it."
A bill to enact a nationwide moment of silence was introduced to Congress in July of 2011. It is currently waiting for review.
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