Honoring Veterans Day and Remembering Granddaddy Rex on Armistice Day

Armistice Day was officially authorized by Congress in 1938 to honor the veterans of WWI. In 1954, after both WWII and the Korean War, the original Act of 1938 was amended to replace the word “armistice” with “veterans”. November 11th has been Veteran’s Day since then, with the exception of a few years in the early 1970’s.  Regardless, remember all veterans and thank them for their service to our country.

Granddaddy’s French helmet, red cross armband and other personal effects.

On November 11, 1918 the Armistice between Germany and the Allies was signed, ending the War to End All Wars. The guns on the Western Front fell silent. My grandfather, Rex R. Forsyth, was in France that day still serving in Section 625 of U.S.A.A.S. (United States Army Ambulance Service) while attached to the French Army. He volunteered, learned to drive the Model T ambulances in the Allentown, Pennsylvania fairgrounds, and was soon shipped overseas. His unit was part of the Allied Army of Occupation and was stationed during 1919 at Kaiser Wilhelm’s castle in the Black Forest.

Haversack for carrying personal items

Rex’s dog tags, with “E” added to his name!

 

 

 

 

 

Granddaddy Rex did share stories of his time overseas with me as I was growing up. He never spoke of the horrors of war that I know he witnessed, but he  did share day to day stories. He told me that when Bosch (German) POW’s were brought to holding areas they were stripped of helmets, medals, belts and even uniform epaulettes. We have many examples of these spoils of war. He did share that once a Bosch soldier tossed a grenade while standing in line. Fortunately it was a dud, and a Poilu (French soldier) “dispatched him right away”.

“Iron Cross” Bosch medal, W is for Kaiser Wilhelm

Pickelhaube, a German spiked helmet

Captured Bosch officer’s epaulettes

Note the Indian Head design on the back panel of the vehicle

This framed Indian head came from his ambulance

Shown is Colonel Bertrand, 162nd French Infantry, pinning the Croix de Guerre on the coat of Rex Forsyth. Note that the helmet Rex is wearing is shown in a photo above, and also note in the right background that you can see the front end of one of the Model T Ford Ambulances.

His Croix de Guerre (Cross of War)

My grandfather was a true hero. On May 2, 1918 members of U.S.A.A.C. Section 625 were awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery in action on April 17, 1918, having crossed a “zone violently bombarded by the enemies artillery” to continue to remove wounded from the battlefield. Our family is so fortunate to have his diary and photo albums of never published photos. His Unit was allowed to take photos being attached to the French Army.

 

An emotional Ohio memorial

Driving through northern Ohio we stopped at a small store for a travel break, Maj spotted not only an antique road grader but a tall monument topped with a proud eagle.

This is the inscription on one of the four panels below the obelisk:

IN GRATEFUL MEMORY OF THE
VOLUNTEERS FROM HUNTINGTON
WHO OFFERED UP THEIR LIVES TO
PRESERVE THE FEDERAL UNION
IN THE
GREAT AMERICAN REBELLION

The oldest soldier listed here as mortally wounded in battle was 24

The other three panels are adorned with the names of the local boys who volunteered, where they were killed in battle, and how old they were. Reading these names, the date when their final battle occurred and the location where they were is quite striking. Brings home the impact of the American Civil War.

Turn of the century road grader

On the grounds of the Huntington Township Administration on the intersection of OH-58 and OH-162 you’ll see a dark green long contraption that appears to be a piece of equipment.

This rig is long

Well, Maj spotted this when we were on our way with family from Columbus to outside Cleveland. We stopped at a little store for a break and this grader was displayed across the street. Naturally and not surprising off he went for photos…

So that’s what it is!

Lots of manual controls to set the blade

The Adams Leaning Wheel Grader was invented in 1890, and the company was located in Indianapolis. This design utilized “leaning wheel” which kept the grader blade from slipping while the device was pulled by any suitable tractor. This design revolutionized road base production. Previous to this road grading was performed with a blade mounted underneath a heavily loaded wagon.

This is an ad from a 1910 Adams Company catalog

It is lots of fun to find these kind of displays as you travel around the country. This road grader was in great condition and well maintained.

 

 

VFW memorial tank proudly displayed

Many of the Veterans of Foreign Wars posts all over the country have at least one piece of retired military hardware, usually an artillery piece, a tank or sometimes even a  combat aircraft. VFW Post 9473 in Reynoldsburg, Ohio is such a post.

Well maintained tank on a concrete pad

Up close and personal

Nice details visible

Memorial Marker in front of the tank

Watch for the VFW in you area, and if you haven’t yet visited, go on in and thank the members for their service. They all have earned our praise and gratitude.

War Memorial cannons in Sullivan Ohio

We were on the way from Columbus to outside Cleveland for a family gathering when Sher reached across me with her phone in hand. I rolled down the window, and the below picture is the result. This is at the intersection of US 224 and Ohio 28.

This is one of the many displays that are part of the National War Memorial Registry. These cannons honor the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Mexican-American War, Civil War and the Spanish American War. Too bad we didn’t have time to stop.

Methodist Hill Cemetery in Reynoldsburg, Ohio

This cemetery caught our eye as we were driving around Reynoldsburg, Ohio. We were actually going to the VFW to see the tank and this cemetery was adjacent to that.

One of several names of this historic cemetery

 

 

 

Also known as Hill Road Methodist Cemetery, Historic Hill Cemetery, and Reynoldsburg Cemetery, it is located in Franklin County, Ohio. The first burial is recorded to have taken place in 1816. According to the Franklin County Chapter of The Ohio Genealogical Society the last burial recorded was in 1908.

National Road US 40 vintage highway mileage signs

In 1806 an Act of Congress which authorized the construction of the National Road also stipulated that mile markers be installed at regular intervals. These reference sign posts helped travelers know that they were following the correct route. They also indicated the distances traveled and the distance to the next destination.

In Ohio there are several of these ” Mile Markers” information signs, explaining the mile posts that followed the National road from the start in Cumberland, Maryland and ending in East St. Louis, Illinois.

This is in front of the City Admin Building in Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

The following text is from the sign, above:   “Whether the letters or numerals were painted or carved, markers followed a standard pattern of showing at the top the number of miles from the beginning of the Road in Cumberland, Maryland. On the next row, they wrote the name of the next big town and number of miles to it. On the left side of the marker, it would show eastbound travelers the next big town to the east. On the right side, it would show westbound travelers the next big town to the west and the number of miles to go. On the lowest level, there was usually an initial and a small number. This indicated the nearest town. It didn’t need to be spelled out, because most people from the vicinity would recognize it from the initial.”

An original we saw 1/4 mile outside of Brownville, Ohio

Made of granite, this is a reproduction set next to the sign pictured above. It is a copy of the original Reynoldsburg mile post

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you travel on US 40, keep your eyes peeled for these old mile posts and for historic information signs. Each state has its own info sign design, the same as each state had its own mile post material.

 

Father of the modern tomato Alexander Livingston

Alexander W. Livingston (1821-1898), a Reynoldsburg, Ohio seedsman, in 1870 developed the first commercially successful variety of tomato. Known as “The Father of the modern tomato” his lovely house still stands and is part of a delightful park on what used to be the outskirts of Reynoldsburg, Ohio.

Built in 1865, now on the National Register of Historic Places

Entrance to the house, which is open for tours

Vintage furnishings in the house

Information sign

The other side

Nice park and trails on the grounds.

This park is no doubt quite lovely in spring when the trees and flowers open up. There are some great old fashioned tire swings and even a teeter-totter for the kids to enjoy, and of course lots of picnic tables. The City of Reynoldsburg has made a great area for recreation for its citizens.

 

Macedonian Orthodox Cathedral of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary, Reynoldsburg, Ohio

This beautiful Greek Orthodox Cathedral was constructed in 2006 after the local parish community had purchased 17 acres in Reynoldsburg, on the near east side of Columbus, Ohio in 2003.

The main entrance doors and triple domes

The Cathedral’s marquee

Mosaic over north door

Mosaic over south door

Mosaic over the main entrance doors

The history of the parishes is just fascinating, and somewhat hard to follow. Strongly recommend that if you are interested, go to the St. Mary website. Lots of history, lots of photos, and just lots of information. We enjoyed seeing this magnificent cathedral while visiting family.