Archive for Wednesday, June 21, 2017

World War I in Lawrence: Clinton residents rally for fundraising drive

June 21, 2017

Editor’s note: As the U.S. marks the 100th anniversary of its entry into World War I this year, local writer Sarah St. John will compile newspaper reports of what it was like to be in Lawrence at that time.

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The national Red Cross fundraising campaign began with dozens of community meetings throughout Douglas County where speakers rallied audience members to the highest pitch of patriotism and generosity.

When arranging these meetings in nearly every school and church in the county, organizers had decided to skip the town of Clinton, whose 40 inhabitants had suffered a devastating tornado on June 5. According to news reports, the storm had caused three fatalities, multiple injuries, and the destruction of more than a dozen buildings.

Clinton residents, however, objected to being passed over. “We’ve got one church standing and we don’t want to be left out,” said one resident in a phone call to the Journal-World. Accordingly, 29 Clinton residents held their meeting this week, “seated and standing in the ruins of the tornado-wrecked Presbyterian Church” as Red Cross manager Henderson S. Martin praised the “people with the spirit that has made America.”

“You had a good excuse to keep your savings,” Martin said. “You had met with a terrible misfortune, but you refused to use an excuse when your country needed your aid…. Several of our great statesmen have been inclined to charge America today to be lacking spirit, but they didn’t know Clinton.”

World War I in Lawrence
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