Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Great War: May 31, 1917

On May 31, 1917, the day after Memorial Day, the Hudson Evening Register provided a full account of the parade that had taken place the previous day. As happened on Memorial Day parade a hundred years later, rain threatened to cancel the parade, but instead, after three days of rain, the clouds cleared on May 30, and Memorial Day was bright and sunny.

Hudson witnessed its greatest Memorial Day celebration of many years Wednesday morning with a magnificent parade, followed by exercises at the Cedar Park cemetery for the departed veterans of the Civil war. Captain Louis Rote, grand marshal of the parade, deserves the highest praise for the excellent arrangements he had made in formation of column and in getting the marchers started. To add the last touch of perfection to the day, the sun shone from a warm and cloudless sky after three days of rain.
Hudson was in the mood for a Memorial Day observance. In the enlarged and sobered crowds, the unusual evidences of reverence for the flag, the bodies of soldiers and recruits in the line of march, could be read a realization that the country is at war, and that this day was doubly significant. Men and women who had calmly viewed Memorial Day processions as a matter of course in other years, this time witnessed the line of troops and organizations with a surge of patriotic emotion that was spontaneous and omnipresent.
The report goes on to describe entries in the parade--schoolgirls dressed in red, white, and blue; soldiers dressed in khaki; "the Elks, the Moose, the Knights of Columbus, the Maccabees, . . . the Knights of Pythias, . . . the Woodmen, as well as two Italian societies and a Hungarian society and a Polish one"; Boy Scouts--"lads half grown" and "little shavers"--and the Hudson cadet battalion, who "stepped forth with marked precision and a military bearing"; veterans of the Spanish American War and the Civil War, riding in automobiles. 

The following picture, from the Evelyn & Robert Monthie Slide Collection at the Columbia County Historical Society, shows a World War I Era parade, which, although following the same route as the Memorial Day Parade of 1917, probably is not that parade. There was a division of schoolchildren in the Memorial Day Parade who "marched along each holding on to the edge of a large American flag which was carried by them in a horizontal position," but there is no mention in the newspaper account of anything like this.


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