Sunday marks the centennial of Armistice Day — a World War I ceasefire signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 — and a ceremony at Lanterman House aims to commemorate the historic occasion.
The special event takes place Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the museum grounds, 4420 Encinas Drive, in La Cañada, and includes a flag ceremony, student performances, recitations and free tours of Lanterman House. There, a mini-exhibit of local artifacts from the World War I era will be displayed.
Laura Verlaque, executive director of the museum, said the goal of the event is to shed light on the city’s own historic ties to the international conflict once billed as “the war to end all wars.”
“I hope this will be a day people can come into Lanterman House and reflect on the legacy of the war,” Verlaque said.
Valley Sun columnist Joe Puglia, who organizes the city’s annual Memorial Day Service, was enlisted by Verlaque to help plan the commemoration. Puglia described the era as a time of great nationalism, during which young men were eager to fight for their country.
“You had these great armies — the Germans, the French, the British, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Union — they built these massive forces, and when you have that you’ve got to use it,” he said. “It was a brief time in world history where it was beautiful to die for your country.”
Though America did not deploy troops until 1917, young men nationwide signed up to serve. Among them was Lloyd Lanterman, who graduated from Glendale High School in January 1918 at age 21 and arrived five months later at Riverside’s March Air Field to begin his military service as a chauffeur for the Army’s Flying School detachment.
Lanterman House archivist Julie Yamashita uncovered a diary recording a moment of the man’s brief service, beginning with June 25, 1918, arrival and describing a brief quarantine from influenza.
“Arrived at Field with folks, a hot day,” Lanterman wrote in his first entry. “Enlisted, was given bed and bedding. Made a mattress of straw; quite a change from home, you bet.”
Information on former La Cañada residents Willard Griswold Barnum and Howard Omar McMullin — who both died from illness before they saw battle and whose names are inscribed on the WWI plaque in Memorial Park — will also be on display.
“Even though they didn’t die in combat, they did serve their country and they did die for their country,” Verlaque said.