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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Centennial salute

The+World+War+I+statue+dedication+concluded+with+Taps+and+a+rifle+salute+from+American+Legion+Post+159+representatives.
Photo by Photo by Josh Gleason

The World War I statue dedication concluded with Taps and a rifle salute from American Legion Post 159 representatives.

At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, an armistice signed by the Allied powers and Germany officially put an end to World War I, one of first major conflicts Aggies served and died in.
On Sunday, the centennial anniversary of Armistice Day was celebrated with two events in Veterans Park. A statue titled “Over the Top” was dedicated by the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board. Following the dedication, the Texas A&M Ross Volunteers performed a rifle salute at the annual Veterans Day ceremony.
University archivist Greg Bailey said when news of the 1918 armistice first reached campus, the college was somewhat cautious, not knowing if the peace would last.
“When it was announced the armistice happened at 6 a.m. local time, there were celebrations held on campus, but President Bizzell told them that students needed to go to classes and soldiers had to train,” Bailey said. “In their free time they could celebrate because they didn’t know if the armistice was going to hold.”
While the university did not stop classes, Bryan declared the day a city-wide holiday, according to the Brazos County World War I website. Mayor Jonathan Lawrence signed the proclamation and the town celebrated.
“A parade through downtown was scheduled for the afternoon and a Thanksgiving devotional was to be held at the Palace Theater that evening,” the website says.
The U.S. entry into WWI lead to many changes to the campus as a whole. The Student Army Training Corps was initiated on Oct. 1, 1918 and replaced the Reserve Officer Training Corps until the armistice was signed.
“The training of soldiers and cadets resumed their full schedule as the war continued around the world and an armistice was considered to be unthinkable around the world,” the website says.
Bailey said the war had far reaching effects for Aggies and shaped what their lives looked like beyond their years at the university.
“Most of the senior class went on to be commissioned in the army and become junior officers to fight during World War I,” Bailey said. “There were some students that had other prior engagements already set up in dealing with jobs lined up and they didn’t go directly into the Army, but continuing on that road later on, juniors would try to walk away and join the Army and Marine Corps and Navy.”
In the years after the war ended, Bailey said events and ceremonies were held to honor the armistice and the sacrifices of those who served during the conflict.
“They had special ceremonies on campus to honor those who lost their lives during World War I,” Bailey said. “They had a gathering reading of the names and playing of music to commemorate those who had lost their lives.”
The “Over the Top” statue is on Lynn Stewart Pathway at Veterans Park and is part of the memorial’s effort to install statues commemorating military conflicts dating back to the American Revolution.

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