Veterans Day: A View from the FHK Archives
Veterans Day, celebrated on November 11th, honors American veterans of all wars . This annual holiday was originally called Armistice Day and represented the cessation of hostilities between the allied nations and Germany that went into effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. In 1954 the holiday was renamed Veterans Day.
This year the FHK Museum featured an exhibit on Kingston’s participation in World War I, which coincided with the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into that conflict. Material for the exhibit came largely from two FHK sources – the William Anderson Carl Collection and the Samuel Bernstein Photography Collection. The exhibit was supplemented by a drawing by Edwin Blashfield titled “Columbia,” which was loaned to the Museum by the American Legion Post 150 in Kingston. This original drawing was used as the template for certificates given to families who lost soldiers, and to soldiers injured in World War I.
William Anderson Carl (1896-1985) served with the United States Army Ambulance Service in France in 1918. Sergeant Carl received the “Croix de Guerre” medal from the French government for his meritorious service in the war. W. Anderson Carl was a Kingston native who graduated from Kingston Academy in 1915. He was a student at the University of Michigan when he volunteered for Army service. Following the war, he obtained an engineering degree from Yale University. Upon returning to Kingston he joined the Fessenden Shirt Company on Field Court and became its president and owner.
Mr. Carl bought and restored the limestone Van Keuren House at the corner of Green and John Streets in the Stockade Area. He and his wife later became early members of the Friends of Historic Kingston. He served as a member of the Historic Landmarks Preservation Commission in Kingston. Mr. Carl’s photo montage, letters, photographs, and medals were given to the Museum by his family.
The Samuel Bernstein photographic collection, donated by his family, includes many photographs of soldiers taken during WW I in Kingston. Also included are many images of the April 1, 1919 parade and banquet honoring returning Kingston soldiers.
A large bronze plaque stands in front of the Kingston City Hall at street level. The plaque lists the names of 1,567 Kingston soldiers who served in World War I. This Veterans Day honor the veterans of all American wars by stopping in front of City Hall and reviewing the names of those who served our country in World War I.
Report by Peter Roberts, Friends of Historic Kingston