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Eleventh Hour

 At 11 a.m. on November 11, 1918, German and Allied forces entered ino an armistice, which ultimately led to the conclusion of World War I.  “The Great War” officially ended seven months later with the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919; however, the end of hostilities on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month became a symbol of world peace.  President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, and traditional celebrations included parades and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m.     

 
On May 13, 1938, Congress approved an act declaring November 11th an official holiday and celebrated as “Armistice Day.”  However on June 1, 1954, following the conclusions of World War II and the Korean War, Congress approved legislation to change the holiday’s name to Veteran’s Day, honoring American veterans from all wars.  
 
The Centennial of World War I is quickly approaching.  The Springfield-Greene County Library District is leading a statewide initiative to document Missouri’s role in the war both at home and abroad.  The Missouri History Museum (St. Louis), Missouri State Archives (Jefferson City), Museum of Osteopathic Medicine SM  (Kirksville), National World War I Museum (Kansas City), and the State Historical Society of Missouri (Columbia) are core partners in the project.  The six institutions developed a proposal to digitize more than 4,700 pages of Missouri WWI documents and photographs.  These records will be placed online with artifacts and historical video from the war years.    
 
The partners plan to launch a digital archive and virtual museum in early 2015.  You can learn more about the project at www.missourioverthere.org and follow project on Facebook.     
 
Over There:  Missouri in the Great War is made possible by a Library Services and Technology Act Digital Imaging Grant funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and coordinated by the Missouri State Library.  
 
Sources:
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  “History of Veterans Day.”  http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp.  

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