Monday, February 11, 2019

The Great War: February 11, 1919

A hundred years ago, the soldiers who had fought in World War I were making their way back home. A column in the Columbia Republican called "Soldiers News" regularly reported that one soldier or another with roots in Columbia County had sailed from France and was on his way home. Hudson was planning a great "Welcome Home" celebration for "all the Hudson boys who went out from here." On February 11, 1919, the Columbia Republican reported on the first meeting held to plan the big event.

The first gun in the campaign to prepare a real "Welcome Home" for all the Hudson boys who went out from here into the service and for all members of Company F, whether from Hudson or not, was fired Friday night when the general celebration committee held a meeting in the Common Council chamber.
Former Mayor Wortman was elected chairman and Charles W. Clapper, secretary and treasurer. The chairman then outlined the plans for the celebration, the date of which will depend upon the arrival home of the soldier boys, the opinion being pretty general that it will be several months before a date can be set.
On the first evening, the plan proposed is to have a banquet in the City Hall with speakers and music; on the next afternoon will be the big parade, which it is expected will surpass anything ever seen in Hudson. There will be at the center of attraction the soldier boys, then visiting companies of all kinds, bands galore and organizations from Hudson and points far and near. That evening there will be a vaudeville show in the playhouse, the bill to be made up of the best artists obtainable in the country. This will be followed by a ball at the armory which will bring the festivities to a close. The soldier boys are to be the guests of the people thruout the two days and they will have a monopoly of the big things that are being arranged.
The chairman stated that a big sum of money would be needed to swing the affair of which $850 was already in the treasury. He said it was hoped that it would not be necessary to pass any subscription papers as the plan was to raise the money by a series of entertainments to be held from time to time before the date of the celebration.
All home coming soldiers are to be requested to register at the City Clerk's office and all who have moved or may move away from Hudson are requested to leave their mail address with the City Clerk.
The entire program is to be prepared solely for the pleasure of the soldier boys who will be the guests of honor thru it all, the citizens' part being confined to seeing that they miss nothing and have a good time.
There was a most representative turnout at the meeting and several matters of detail were discussed, most of them left to the different committees to settle.
Eight committees were formed to plan the event: Finance, Publicity, Decorating, Banquet, Parade and Public Concert, Floats, Theatre and Dance, Executive. Curiously, each of the committees was made up entirely of men except for the Floats committee, which was made up entirely of women.

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