Highlights from The Herald Democrat 100 Years Ago
FIRES OF PATRIOTISM BURN IN BREASTS OF AMERICANS
Attorney J. W. Clarke, in Memorial Address, Urges Necessity for Preparation as Great Lesson of
History — Leadville
Honors Her Soldier Dead, American Legion Lifting Burden From G. A. R.
YOUTH MINGLE WITH AGED VETERANS
Tuesday, May 31, 1921
“We come here to pay tribute to American soldiers, to show that our comrades are not forgotten, to show that the fires of patriotism still burn in the American breast, to show that if wars must be fought, a grateful people will pay their respects to the country’s defenders.” With this sentence Attorney Joseph W. Clarke, Memorial Day speaker, opened his very excellent address at Evergreen Cemetery yesterday forenoon. The burden of Mr. Clarke’s speech was an argument for more thoro preparedness for future wars, as a lesson to be learned from the sacrifice of those who laid down their lives in past conflicts.
The speaker definitively advocated universal military training for the country’s youth. He inferred that with better preparation for war, nations will be more wary of encroaching upon each other’s rights and of insulting each other’s honor and flag.
Yesterday proved one of the loveliest Memorial Days in local history from the weather point of view. The day was one of the warmest of the season, the sun being hot enough to make Leadvillites give a thot to real heat and discomfort in the great eastern metropolises and register mental satisfaction with Leadville’s cool and pleasant summer weather. A goodly portion of Decoration Days in the past have been marked by rain or cold.
The credit for the very well arranged and smoothly carried out program and for the large-sized task of entertaining some 150 veterans at an excellent and generous dinner after the exercises must go to the American Legion post, the G. A. R. ladies and the Women’s Relief Corps, respectively. Dr. Franklin J. McDonald and Al Miller of the American Legion post had, before the exercises and under the guidance of Commander George Klippel of the local G. A. R. post, decorated the graves of Civil War veterans in the various cemeteries with flags. Graves of World War veterans were also decorated previously, a large number of poppies being used.
The decoration of Spanish-American War veterans’ graves too was handled by the Legion. The decoration of the graves by the newest group of war veterans under the guidance of a member of the oldest surviving group of fighters had in it something touching, but also depressing; touching in that it indicated a filial and loving assumption by young warriors of the cares that are becoming burdensome to the drooping shoulders of the old soldiers, but also depressing because it emphasized the fact that with the passing of living reminders of old conflicts comes a new crop of veterans to be a reminder that the time has not yet come when men will settle international issues sanely by reasoned deliberation instead of by senseless and unreasoned violence. Commander Klippel has the location of the Civil War veterans’ graves excellently in memory and was an invaluable guide in the work of decoration at the cemeteries. Some 264 flags were planted, largely at his direction, on the graves of Civil, Spanish-American and World War veterans.
A beautiful morning greeted the organizations and individuals who assembled at the G. A. R. headquarters in the Elks opera house at 10 o’clock for the march out to Evergreen Cemetery. The procession was headed by the American flag carried by Andy McGowan, American Legion post color bearer. Then followed two squads of World War veterans in uniform. After the young veterans came the drill team of the Women’s Relief Corps. Following their guards of honor rode the G. A. R. veterans. There were six gray-haired soldiers in this year’s procession: Commander Geo. W. Klippel, N. N. Robertson, James Telfer, Albert Reed, J. C. Burkhardt, Clarke Wait and Harry Cox.
The program opened at the cemetery upon the arrival of the procession. A number of people who had gone out early were waiting, seated on the benches before the speaker’s platform. The veterans of the three wars occupied the platform. The drill team of the Women’s Relief Corps sat in the first rows of benches in the audience. The benches, which seat about 200 people, were all taken. Rev. Mr. Durrie of the Presbyterian church opened the exercises with an invocation. A mixed quartet then sang the national anthem, in which the audience joined. Commander McDonald of the American Legion post spoke briefly and then introduced the speaker of the day, Attorney Joseph W. Clarke, veteran of the Spanish-American War. Mr. Clarke’s address was very well received, and general satisfaction was expressed after the program at the Legion’s choice of speaker. Mr. Clarke’s oration was followed by another song by the quartet, “Passing Down the Valley One by One,” appealingly sung and well taken by the audience.
Captain Eugene A. Bond, veteran of the American campaigns in France, recited very effectively Lincoln’s Gettysburg address. The quartet then sang “America,” with the audience again taking part. The song was followed by the G. A. R. salute for the dead, performed with bared heads and hand on heart. The younger veterans joined the gray-haired fighters in this moving ceremony. The Rev. Mr. J. L. Cupp of the First Methodist church pronounced the benediction, and the program was terminated by the blowing of taps by William Colborn, survivor of four campaigns in France. A more fitting ending to an impressive program can scarce be imagined than the long, sad, sweet notes of this evening bugle call.
Following the program at the outdoor meeting place, the Women’s Relief Corps and the audience repaired to the Cenotaph to the Unknown Dead in another part of the cemetery, where the Corps help its impressive service in honor of the unknown dead. The quartet then sang “Nearer My God to Thee.”
The Women’s Relief Corps entertained about 150 veterans and other guests at dinner in Foresters’ hall after their return from the cemetery. The dinner was a very generous one, several doughboys afterward being heard expressing their appreciation of the “good spread.”