Armistice Day 1920

In November 11, 1920, the Geneseo Chapter of the American Legion united with the National Chapter and declared November 11th a “National Fete Day.”

Two years previously hostilities had ceased, ending World War I, which some called “The Great War" and others “the War to End all Wars.” A feeling of relief prevailed in the United States. Geneseo was no exception – friends, relatives, and citizens celebrated joyously and openly. Their men at the front did so with prayers of thanksgiving.

Lest anyone forget, November 11th was declared Armistice Day. Kelsey Field was the scene of “a horse show and equine sports event of the kind which made Geneseo famous when Major Wadsworth held the Fourth of July Sports at the Homestead.” The games included javelin throwing, manikin races, lemon slicing, sabre over hurdles, etc. In the evening exercises were held at the Normal School to present victory medals. Dancing followed with a popular jazz band.

Geneseo can be justly proud of her war heroes, from the War of 1812 when William Wadsworth, Major W. H. Spencer, and others distinguished themselves, to the War Between the States when General James Wadsworth, a hero of Gettysburg, fell during the Battle of the Wilderness. World Wars I and II have impressive rosters of Geneseo names. The Korean conflict and the war in Vietnam saw men again leave the Valley, some never to return.

The monument overlooking the Village Park was erected in 1935 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars to honor the memory of all from Geneseo who left their homes to fight for their country.