On Nov. 9, 1919, noted Jefferson City photographer Carl Deeg snapped a photo of a group of men after a special "American Legion" church service held one year after the end of World War I at Central Evangelical Church.
In that photo were two of Bill Stine's uncles. In fact, Stine had four uncles in World War I, three of whom he knew well and one who suffered from poison gas inhalation and died shortly after the war in 1924.
As part of a landmark celebration of the now Central United Church of Christ, Stine along with fellow congregation members were asked to identify the men in Deeg's photo, delighted he saw two of his uncles. Like the longtime bronze plaque honoring those World War I fallen soldiers that still remains at the church today, the photo is another reminder of the sacrifices and service these men made.
To honor the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I on Sunday, Nov. 11, Veterans Day, a small group from the Monticello Singers men's chorus and guest artists from MOstly Opera will sing special music during the 10 a.m. church service, with the church bell tolling at 11 a.m. Everyone is welcome and a special invitation is extended to those whose ancestors participated 100 years ago to help mark this remembrance in the church's history.
Stine, who is also part of the Monticello Singers, said a copy of the World War I veterans photo at the church is part of the church's historical archives. The bronze plaque is something members and visitors would not have been able to still see if it wasn't salvaged in the during church reconstruction in the 1980s.
"When I was a child the Sunday school building was where the Boy Scouts met and there was this plaque indoors. I saw it but it didn't mean anything to me at the time. Later when I saw this photo from Carl during the (landmark church) celebration it meant came together and meant something," he said.
Stine said in 1980 they tore the Sunday school building down. They saved the plaque and decided to use it, so when they built the addition to the Sunday school in the church, it was relocated there. Near the Central United Church of Christ secretary's office, the plaque reads in part, "1917 In Memoriam 1918 To the boys of Central Evangelical Church Who Gave Their Lives for Freedom's Cause In Appreciation their comrades."
The Monticello Singers and ladies from MOstly Opera enjoyed the opportunity to sing at Westminster College in the National Winston Churchill Museum and Chapel with emcee Bob Priddy for Veterans Day 2017. Stine volunteered the same group to sing at the event on Armistice Day.
"We are there to help the congregation sing with gusto," he said. "There are all kinds of people having things that day, but this is a neat piece of local history connected to World War I. We are happy to be a part of it."
The Monticello Singers will also present its Fall-Winter concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 at First United Methodist Church, 201 S. Monroe St. Stine said a variety of tunes will be presented during this performance including a hippie generation tune "Rhythm of Life," an English song in "A Boar Head's Carol" and a tribute to Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky's music.
"Some are religious in nature and others are Christmas tunes," Stine said. "They have been a lot of fun to rehearse and I think guests will enjoy the variety of songs we will have."
The Fall-Winter concert is also free, with donations appreciated. Central United Church of Christ is located at 118 W. Ashley St.