Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Great War: November 11, 1918

When the Armistice was signed in the Forest of Compiègne, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, it was 5 a.m. in Hudson. It's not clear how or exactly when the news of the cessation of fighting reached our little city, but when it did, it "spread like wildfire." Sometime that morning, Mayor Charles S. Harvey called a meeting to make arrangements for a parade and celebration and issued a following declaration, proclaiming the day a half-holiday to begin at noon.
Whereas, Almighty God in his infinite wisdom has given the victory to our righteous cause and our arms, and has lighted anew the fires of liberty and justice before all the peoples of the earth and has thereby given assurance that Might does not make Right;
Whereas, We are duly grateful for the termination of the hostilities and bloodshed, and the early return of our victorious armies from the scenes of carnage and death; and
Whereas, We should celebrate this great day in a becoming and fitting manner.
Now, Therefore, by virtue of my office I hereby proclaim this day a holiday for the city of Hudson and do hereby recommend that all citizens join in the observance of this, one of the greatest days in the history of the United States; that all business be suspended at noon, and all the stores, factories, offices close and remain closed during the remaining hours of the day.
That all citizens assemble at the armory this evening at 7 o'clock and take part in a parade of triumph and rejoicing. 
The next day, the Columbia Republican reported on the day of celebration.

The news that the war was at an end spread thru the city like wildfire yesterday morning and the city began immediately to take on a gala attire in honor of the most momentous history-making events of the world. When the fire alarm rang a noisy conglomeration of every conceivable nose producer began. Whistles blew, bells rang and crowds thronged the streets cheering.
A meeting was called by the Mayor for arrangements to be made for a parade and celebration last night. A half-holiday was declared and business places began to close down before the noon hour had struck. Within an hour of the news going out the stock of bunting and flags in the local stores had been depleted, and every store closed.
All during the day there were parades by organizations and industrial concerns. The children of the public schools, headed by the Hudson band, made a big parade. Autos honked their horns, crowds cheered or sang and the city gave over its time entirely to rejoicing over the victory of our arms and those of our allies in bringing the world war to a close.
The big feature of the day was the parade held in the evening. Altho it was hurriedly gotten up it proved to be as large, if not larger, than any held in this city. It extended the entire length of the city and took nearly an hour to pass a given point, being made up of every organization and industry in the city. The parade began when the fire alarm struck and bells were again rung and whistles blown. The streets were lined with thousands of people, red fire was burned all along the line of march and salutes given as the paraders passed. In spite of the short time that was given to get up the parade it was a huge success and much credit is due all those who arranged it and took part in it.
The editorial page of the Columbia Republican on the day after the fighting ceased featured this paean to peace, which is particularly poignant considering that a little more than two decades later the same powers would once again be at war.


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