United States Day





United States Day was celebrated in Paris on April 20, 1918.



On that day, exercises were held in the great hall of the Sorbonne; on

April 21, a reception was given the American ambassador, and a great

procession marched to the statue of Lafayette. The Stars and Stripes

flew from the Eiffel Tower and from the municipal buildings on both

days.



At the exercises in the Sorbonne on April 20, M. Millerand, president

of the French Maritime League, ranked Wilson with Washington and

Lincoln.



Washington, Lincoln, Wilson--these are immortal types of

the presidency of a democracy--men who, conscious of their

responsibilities, assume the duty of guiding the people at whose head

they have the honor to be placed, thus realizing the necessary harmony

in human affairs between the principle of authority and the principle

of liberty. Yes, history will assign to President Wilson a place among

the great statesmen of all time, for he has been able to make clear the

reasons why honor condemned neutrality and commanded war in order to

assure to humanity the blessing of peace.





Following the speech, the American and French flags were held aloft,

touching each other. Then a French poet, Jean Richepin, recited with

great emotion and telling effect, a poem he had composed for the

occasion, entitled, The Kiss of the Flags. Ambassador Sharp saluted

the great republic of France and her Allies.



In London, the American flag flew on April 20, 1918, where no flag

except the British flag had flown in all history, at the top of the

Victoria Tower over the Houses of Parliament at Westminster. A solemn

and beautiful service was held at St. Paul's Cathedral. The King and

Queen and England's greatest men and women attended.



These celebrations in Paris and London and elsewhere are of importance

to America, because they proved that the world was beginning to realize

that the people of the United States were more than money seekers

looking only for selfish gain, and therefore weak and unreliable. When

America entered the war, a leading German paper said,



We do not think that America's intervention will have an essential

effect on the results of the war. The Allies are going to have a

momentary advantage, but they will soon be aware that America is like a

stick that breaks when one wants to lean on it.





Another great German daily gave the following as America's reasons for

joining the Allies:--



First, the desire to have a place at the peace conference; second, the

wish to weaken or destroy the love of different peoples for their

native lands; third, the hope thereby to be able to increase her

military and naval equipment; and fourth, the desire to build up a

great American merchant fleet.





Because Germany saw in the United States only the love of power and of

the Almighty Dollar, she made the terrible mistake that brought about

her downfall. With the declaration of war with Germany on April 6,

1917, at least England and France saw the people of America more nearly

as they are, lovers and defenders of the highest ideals man has yet

felt and spoken. The American soldiers showed a little later at

Belleau Wood and in the Argonne forest, that they loved these ideals

enough to die for them.



The English writer, Hall Caine, described the celebration in London in

beautiful and graphic language:--



American Day in London was a great and memorable event. It was another

sentinel on the hilltop of time, another beacon fire in the history of

humanity. The two nations of Great Britain and America can never be

divided again. There has been a national marriage between them, which

only one judge can dissolve, and the name of that judge is Death. . . .



Two lessons, at least, must be learned from the service of Friday in

St. Paul's Cathedral. The first is that the accepted idea of the

American Nation as one that weighs and measures all conduct by material

values in dollars and cents, must henceforth be banished forever.

Thrice already in its short history has it put that hoary old slander

to shame, and now once again has it given the lie to it. The history

of nations has perhaps no parallel to the high humanity, the splendid

self-sacrifice, the complete disinterestedness that brought America

into this war, with nothing to gain and everything to lose. It has

broken forever with the triple monarchies of murder. To live at peace

with crime was to be the accomplice of the criminal. Therefore, in the

name of justice, of mercy, of religion, of human dignity, of all that

makes man's life worth living and distinguishes it from the life of the

brute, America, for all she is or ever can be, has drawn the sword and

thrown away the scabbard. God helping her, she could do no other.



The second of the lessons we have to learn from the services of Friday

is that, having made war in defense of the right, America will make

peace the moment the wrong has been righted. No national bargains will

weigh with her, no questions of territory, no problems of the balance

of power, no calculations of profit and loss, no ancient treaties, no

material covenants, no pledges that are the legacy of past European

conflicts. Has justice been done? Is the safety of civilization

assured? Has reparation been made, as far as reparation is possible,

for the outrages that have disgraced the name of man, and for the

sufferings that have knocked at the door of every heart in Christendom?

These will be her only questions. Let us take heart and hope from

them. They bring peace nearer.



It was not for nothing that the flags of Great Britain and America hung

side by side under the chancel arch on Friday morning. At one moment

the sun shot through the windows of the dome and lit them up with

heavenly radiance. Was it only the exaltation of the moment that made

us think invisible powers were giving us a sign that in the union of

the nations, which those emblems stood for, lay the surest hope of the

day when men will beat their swords into plowshares and know war no

more? The United States of Great Britain and America! God grant the

union celebrated in our old sanctuary may never be dissolved until that

great day has dawned.





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