Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at places and events of interest in Bulloch County history.
In the Bulloch Herald of Nov. 5, 1937, it was announced that the citizens of Bulloch County and the city of Statesboro's American Legion were finishing preparations to celebrate two milestones in the city's and county's history.
They were, first, the observation of Armistice Day, and, secondly, the dedication of the Statesboro airport, which was to take place on Nov. 11, 1937.
What was once known as the Armistice Day holiday, which remembered the day the "Armistice" was signed causing the cessation of hostilities at the end of World War I.
In America this holiday is now known as Veterans Day, during which time we celebrate the service of all armed forces members during all of America’s foreign wars.
On Nov. 11, 1937, Gov. Eurith Dickensen Rivers spoke to some 10,000 people at the new airport. W.A. Simmons of the American Legion of Georgia headquarters staff, also spoke, attacking “communism, fascism, and Nazism.”
The airport celebration featured a death-defying delayed parachute jump from 10,000 feet by Sandy Strachan, a jump by “Little Willie” at 500 feet without any parachute, and a “dog-fight” between two well-known stunt pilots, Owen McRoberts and Jimmie Culpepper.
In addition, airplane rides were available on a giant tri-motored airplane for $1 per person. In addition, a plane carrying “air mail” from New York City landed in the first air mail delivery to Statesboro.
Fred Hodges was the chairman of the various steering committees for the big barbecue dinner cooked at this event. Roger Holland was in charge of organizing the food for the event, and Bonnie Morris was in charge of the cooking, assisted by Sam Northcutt.
More than 125 Bulloch hogs were cooked for the barbecue. So many people were fed that they used $160 worth of bread, $85 in sweet pickles, and $85 in iced tea. The plan was to be able to feed 100 people every minute in each of the 10 active serving lines over a two-hour period.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. E-mail Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org.