PRESIDENT WILSON SIGNS THE RESOLUTION DECLARING THAT A STATE OF WAR EXISTS
The headline was followed by this subhead:
In 1917, Friday, April 6, was Good Friday. That coincidence was noted in the Evening Register's editorial on that day, transcribed excerpts of which follow:
IT IS NOW WAR
From an event which took place on this day centuries ago, which was a day so tragic that the great lover of humanity was forced to exclaim, "My God, hast thou forsaken me?" great good and civilizing results have been constantly flowing. On this Good Friday when the American nation buckles on its armor for humanity, we can expect naught else but a further step along the pathway of civilization and advancement for the people of the world--the same as has followed every war in which the United States has had a part.
The expected has come. Forced by a long series of insults to America, insults to our people, insults to international law, insults to our flag and wholesale destruction of American lives and property, Congress has made a declaration that a state of war exists with Germany.
It is a declaration that will make a profound impression throughout the world.
Wilson--champion of peace, a great leader and patriot, lover of the common cause of the common people--has dealt with the utmost patience and forebearance through long and tragic ordeals only to be brought to the inevitable that now confronts America. . . .
In declaring that a state of war exists--war thrust upon us--President Wilson urges this nation:
"TO EXERT ALL ITS POWER AND EMPLOY ALL ITS RESOURCES TO BRING THE GOVERNMENT OF THE GERMAN EMPIRE TO TERMS AND END THE WAR."
With full comprehension of what this means, the President exhorts Congress not only to meet the tremendous issue courageously, but to take immediate stock of resources, to provide for the calling of at least half a million men to the colors, to prepare for the calling of subsequent forces to aid in financing the war against Germany, and to bring the full force of this great and glorious America into the titanic struggle for the vindication of principle and the preservation of human rights on land and sea.
"Our object now," as President Wilson states, let every man, woman and child in America bear in mind, "is to vindicate the principles of peace and justice in the life of the world as against selfish and autocratic power, and to set up amongst the really free and self-governing peoples of the world concert of purpose and action."
Congress has now responded and supported the President. So momentous is this situation--so vast in its possibilities, so dangerous in misunderstandings and prejudices, so fraught with opportunity for service for all mankind--it is difficult to grasp more than a little of its full meaning.
First of all it demands sober, serious, patriotic thought. To the mothers and fathers of the land; to their sons and daughters; to our adopted countrymen, whom we honor and respect--to all of you--the Register appeals, urging that you one and all rally to the colors of the Stars and Stripes, which are dear to the heart of every man fit to call himself an American!
War means great sacrifices for us all, and now that the opportunity and responsibility are here let us rise as one to demonstrate again to the world as we did in the days of Washington, Jackson, Lincoln and McKinley, that we are equal to the task and ready for a fight to vindicate right and avenge the blood of our slaughtered countrymen!