LeMars Sentinel
June 1, 1917

Decoration Day Was Observed by Many From LeMars and Surrounding Country and
Procession Was Imposing Spectacle—Graves Decorated.

Despite an overcast sky, drizzling rain most of the day, and muddy roads,
which prevented the attendance of many from the country, a large number of
people assembled in LeMars on Wednesday morning to pay a fitting and proper
tribute to the memories of those who fought in the great Civil War and to
the gray haired survivors of that great struggle.

The weather in a measure marred the plans for the day, causing a curtailment
of the program and some delay in escorting the veterans and members of the
W.R.C. to the cemeteries, but the spirit and interest in the occasion was
manifest in a greater degree than usual, and those who gathered again
pledged their allegiance to the greatest country on earth.

The business houses, banks, and courthouse were closed for the day in honor of the occasion.

Shortly after nine o’clock the crowd gathered at the city building and the
parade formed under the direction of Chief Marshal O. L. Loudenslager and
his aides. The veterans were escorted from headquarters at the library
building to the city hall. The parade moved off in the following order:
LeMars Military band.
Company K, Second Iowa Infantry.
LeMars Fire Department.
Mower Post G.A.R.
Comrades in automobiles.
Women’s Relief Corps in automobiles.
Flower committee and children in automobiles.
School children carrying flags.
Speaker of the day.
City officers.
Citizens on foot, in carriages and automobiles.

A feature of the parade was the fine appearance of the pupils of St.
Joseph’s school, dressed in the national colors and bearing flags. Their
drill and deportment was the subject of many flattering remarks.

The line of march was on Main street to Third and then east on Third street
to the cemetery. The large crowd grouped itself around the mound on which is
erected the soldiers monument and where the exercises took place. Mayor
Geo. McLane presided and made the announcements. Rev. Jos. J. Steele
offered a prayer and the following a musical selection, Mr. McLain
introduced Dr. C. A. Mock, president of Western Union College, who made the
principal address. He said in part:

We are gathered today under peculiar circumstances. Not since the day of
Appomattox which ended the Civil War, has our country faced a similar
crisis. In the crisis in which our country now finds itself we are called
again to defend those principles for which our Revolutionary forefathers
fought, and for which you, Grand Army men, went forth in the sixties.

As always before, we are enlisted in a fight for freedom, this time not
merely freedom for ourselves, but a freedom for the peoples of the earth. In
the days of the Revolution, we fought to free ourselves as a country; in the
sixties we fought to free a race; and now we go forth in arms to battle for
the freedom of nations. While we fight to uphold the honor our country we
fight for humanity; we strike for that noble martyr among
nations—Belgium—who in the face of inevitable destruction, defied the
overwhelmingly superior powers of a hostile nation, and who by her
self-sacrifice, held back the tide of invasion until France and England
could marshal their forces, and thus saved the cause of the allies—we strike
for Belgium, noble martyr. We also strike for that pilloried nation, Serbia,
and for that people, almost annihilated by the atrocious Turk, Serbia. We
fight not to avenge these nations, nor even our own wrongs, the slaughter of
women and children, but we fight that we may make it forever impossible that
any man, king, or emperor, or group of men, shall ever at command, send
forth the men of the nations to the slaughter of the battlefield.

The fight in which we find ourselves is a fight for humanity. It is a part
of that age-long conflict between absolutism and democracy, between
government for the few or for the many. And we are fighting for the freedom
of the very people who now are our vowed and proclaimed enemies. Those are
immortal words of our president and commander in chief in which he declares
that we fight not against the German people but [unreadable].


~Submitted for posting by volunteer, Linda Ziemann