November 11

November 11
This print is based on a small sepia photograph of my grandfather. This was the last photo of him before the train came that would take him off to World War I. 
I asked him about his service when he was 91 because I had never heard him talk about it. He was trained as a mechanic but ended up as an ambulance driver and the company bugler.  He said that while he was on the ship on the way to Europe, the armistice was signed.  When they got back home, he related they were given a ticket home and a "kick in the pants".  That was it.  And they got on with their life.
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that  reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.” History of Veterans Day
According to grandpa, his company was not needed where the "action" was so for the most part he fixed equipment, drove the ambulance and played his trumpet with the company band at their post and in the local town.  I said to him, "So for the rest of your time there you basically just fooled around."  He laughed and said, "Well, I did a little of that too!"
I purposely kept his face in shadow because he represents thousands of young men (and women) who have served in the military without complaint or fanfare.  They do the every day grunt work - the clean up, the payroll ( my brother - U.S. Navy), the office work, the fixing of equipment, the musicians (my dad - U.S. Navy Blue Jacket Choir organist) and morale boosters.  They just do their job.  And get on with their life.
Thank you Veterans.


Annie B said...


Horsefethers said...

Very good.

Ellen Shipley said...

I'm glad you added color to bring the sepia photograph to life.