Archive for Sunday, June 25, 2017

World War I in Lawrence: Residents urged to donate in Red Cross drive

June 25, 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.


As the national Red Cross drive passed the midway point, organizers began to worry that Douglas County donations would not reach the $35,000 goal. Editorials encouraged loyal citizens to step up to the challenge: “Is Douglas county turning a deaf ear to the call for help of the Red Cross?... This county cannot afford to fall short while so many other counties have oversubscribed their apportionment.” In an appeal to the city’s history, one writer stated, “It has been a source of pride to every patriotic citizen of Lawrence that this county has sent so many men into the volunteer service…. Lawrence has stood forth as the center of patriotism. She was bathed in the blood of martyrs in the struggle for freedom and her voice has been heard above the din of mercenary strife always calling for the best that is in mankind. Now it is up to Lawrence to prove whether the son is worthy of his sire. Whether the patriots who fought the good fight of sixty years ago left us a heritage that is appreciated, or whether we are going to lag behind and have the finger of scorn pointed at us from all over the state.”

Writers didn’t hesitate to point that “finger of scorn” at “men who ought to give thousands [but] give little or nothing at all,” and threatened to publicly shame the slackers: “When the list of donors is published later there are some men who will feel mighty mean, if their sense of feeling has not been entirely atrophied. Along with the names of the men who have given liberally may be published the names of those who have given nothing in spite of their abundance. Lawrence and Douglas county might just as well know who is who now, as at any other time.”

World War I in Lawrence
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