The “war to end all wars” was still fresh in the public’s memory as Raleigh prepared to commemorate Armistice Day in 1927. Here’s how The N&O covered the events of the day:
The high tension of war days swept back across nine years yesterday to touch again the thousands of people lining the downtown sections of Raleigh, watching the columns of khaki-clad figures march along to the rhythm of military bands.
The parade yesterday morning was only the beginning of Raleigh’s observance of Armistice Day, which was the most widely celebrated anniversary here since hostilities ceased between the allied nations and Germany at 11 o’clock, November 11, 1918.
At 11 o’clock yesterday morning between three and four thousand people gathered in the city auditorium for the main exercises of the day when Gen. Albert L. Cox, State Commander of the American Legion, brought back stirring memories of the heroism, the bravery – and the horror – of the World War, and paid tribute to the services of Civil War and Spanish American War veterans to the country.
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But these thousands were only a small part of those who paid tribute yesterday to the fortitude of veterans of the three wars, and honored the memory of those who gave the greatest sacrifice, their lives. Veterans of all three wars took part in the Armistice Day celebration marching in the parade, attending the exercises in the auditorium in a body and going jointly to a barbecue dinner served by members of the American Legion Auxiliary and the the Wake County Red Cross canteen workers.
Streets were thronged throughout the day despite the large numbers attending the N. C. State-Duke University football game in Durham in the afternoon. It needed only State College’s hard won victory to add the last perfect touch to the celebration. ...
The dramatic moment of the exercises came when Col. William J. Joyner called James A. Higgs, 88 year old Civil War veteran, to the stage to receive for his son, James A. Higgs, Jr., the Cross of Service presented by the United Daughters of the Confederacy for the most distinguished military service in the World War by a lineal descendant of a Civil War soldier.
James A. Higgs, Jr., who received the Distinguished Service Cross of the United States Army, and the Medal of Honor of the Aero Club of America, for distinguished service with the 7th balloon company, of the 5th army corps of the air service balloon division, was unable to come from Atlanta, Ga., where he is now stationed, to receive the award.
With trembling steps the white haired veteran mounted to the rostrum escorted by two sturdy Boy Scouts, while the audience rose to its feet with one accord applauding vigorously. Only when Col. Joyner began speaking did the applaouse die away and those making up the audience sit down to frankly wipe their eyes and smile at the old man who listened attentively while Col. Joyner read the official war record of James A. Higgs, Jr., recounting his numerous stations up and down the battle front, and four parachute jumps to safety when his balloon was attacked by the enemy. Twice the balloon from which he jumped was on fire....
In addition to the barbecue which was served in the car barn of the Carolina Power and Light Company on the corner of Jones and Harrington streets, when veterans were the guests of the city and county, veterans of all three wars were also guests at the State, Superba and Capitol Theatres yesterday afternoon and night. ...
The parade which was one of the principal features of the day, formed on Salisbury, Hillsboro and Halifax streets sharply at 10:30 o’clock. Led by the 120th Infantry Band, the parade moved down Fayetteville Street with the Service Company, 120th Infantry, State College Band and cadets, the Youngsville Battery, 113th Field Artillery, United States Army, Navy, and National Guard Reserve Corps; members of the American Legion and ex-service men, veterans of the Spanish American War, the Junior High School, Senior High School, Kiwanis Drum Corps, Boy Scouts and the Boy Scout Band, falling in behind. After these came automobiles carrying the gold star members, Red Cross nurses, the Legion Auxiliary, Confederate veterans, and representatives of the Y.W.C.A.
Gen. Albert L. Cox, and other Legion, city and State officials reviewed the parade from the balcony of the Yarborough Hotel. The N&O Nov. 12, 1927