Warhawk Almanac: Whitewater’s First Armistice – 1918

Pictured in action, Whitewater veteran Captain Phil Trautman and his men during the fighting in France.
“Men of C.K, 128 Regiment Infantry of Valpries farm while in support during drive on Juvigny, Valpries farm near Juvigny, France, Aug. 29, 1918.” Normal School Scrapbook 1915- 1920. Anderson Library Archives and Area Research, Anderson Library, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI. 

For many Americans, November 11th has always been the day set aside to honor the nations veterans. However, the date traces its origins back only as far as the end of World War I. November 11th is the date WWI officially ended in Europe. Many American citizens celebrated the end of the war on November 11, 1918, and the students and citizens of Whitewater were no exception. The fire siren sounded as citizens of all ages ran through the streets sharing the news. By the afternoon, a parade was organized. Whitewater citizens, Normal School students, and even a few veterans of the Civil War, marched down the street making sure to stop and salute any service flag they passed. The celebrations concluded at City Hall, where the community gathered to sing songs and cheer for the Whitewater men who were serving at the time.[1]

Captain Trautman’s letters were often published in the local newspaper to keep the town informed of the action overseas.
“First Lieut. Phil E Trautman.” Normal School Scrapbook 1915-1920. Anderson Library Archives and Area Research, Anderson Library, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI. 

One year later, Whitewater again honored its veterans by celebrating the first anniversary of the armistice signed in France, in other words, the first Armistice Day. On campus, a program was held by the campus community where campus leadership honored the Whitewater Normal School students who served in or lost their lives serving in the war.[2] Off campus, the Normal School Glee Club and President Hyer introduced a special speech by Professor S. H. Clark, the associate professor of Public speaking at the University of Chicago. Prof. Clark reminisced on his time overseas, called for continued support and action, and praised the spirit of American soldiers.[3] Sentiments like these evolved into modern celebrations of Veteran’s Day. A day when the service and dedication of America’s armed forces is celebrated and honored. 

Oscar Hamilton, a Whitewater local, passed away from illness while stationed in Washington, D.C.
“H. Oscar Hamilton.” Normal School Scrapbook 1915-1920. Anderson Library Archives and Area Research, Anderson Library, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI. 

[1]  “Peace news Starts Wild Celebration,” Whitewater Register (Whitewater, WI.), Nov.14, 1918.

[2]“Armistice Day Program,” Royal Purple (Whitewater, WI.), Nov.14, 1919

[3] “Audience Thrilled by Prof. Clark’s Address,” Whitewater Register (Whitewater, WI.), Nov. 13, 1919.


This entry was posted in Archives & ARC and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *