World War I in Lawrence: Liberty Bond drive opens with a parade

The opening of the Third Liberty Bond drive occurred on the eve of the first anniversary of the U.S. entry into the “Great War,” and Lawrence kicked off the celebration at 2 p.m. that Friday afternoon, April 5, 1918, with “all whistles and bells in Lawrence (in) the biggest clamor ever heard in the city.” All businesses were closed and streetcar service suspended, and a huge parade, headed by mayor-elect George L. Kreeck, included “all the patriotic organizations of the city, including the Grand Army of the Republic, the Lawrence battalion of the Kansas State Guards, the Boy Scouts, the Haskell cadet battalion and the Kansas University battalion, with the Lawrence, the Haskell and the Kansas University bands.” J. D. Bowersock had requested that all Lawrence citizens demonstrate their patriotism that day by flying the American flag on all homes and business houses. A sudden downpour of rain on Friday afternoon may have interfered with that plan, but the weather did little to “chill the ardor of the marchers,” who continued to parade from South Park to the Bowersock Opera House, where many of them crammed into the theater to hear the “Liberty Day” message delivered by Dr. Leon M. Birkhead of the Tenth District Liberty Loan committee.

Of all the participants in the parade, the most impressive, according to an article in the Lawrence Journal-World, was the one from Haskell Institute, which “showed several floats and special features that were a credit to their designers. At the head of their division was carried a service flag bearing two hundred stars and an explanatory banner saying that there are 500 Indians in the military service and 200 of them from Haskell.” A group of students carried a sign reading “Show Us the Kaiser” with “a litter on which a dummy of the gentleman was supposed to repose.”