Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Tomb of Unknown Soldier Dedicated on Armistice Day in 1921

Armistice Day in 1921 was a jumble of different meanings. The big news locally was the establishment of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. (The Washington Post has a piece on it with film from 1921.)

November 14th, 1921

A coop ad focused on peace, economic reconstruction, and commerce.

Graphics in a big coop ad, November 10th, 1921

President Harding's proclamation further institutionalized the holiday.

November 6th, 1921

The rhetoric around the Unknown Soldier was distinctly religious and larger than life, focusing on martyrdom and heroism, a sacrifice to peace. The accent was very much on the dead rather than veterans still living.

Oct. 24th, Nov. 9th, Nov. 10th, 1921

November 11th, 1921

There was another sting, with a developing subplot.

Nov. 12th, 1921

The next day, the papers had news that a group of 20 had been initiated into the Klan on Armistice Day.

They wrapped themselves in "patriotic" colors and asserted "we desire America for Americans, but only through the process of teaching Americanism."

Nov 10th and 11th, 1923

You may recall that two years later, in 1923 in conjunction with Armistice Day the Salem Klan got its charter and held a very large parade from the Fairgrounds into downtown.

They grafted themselves onto this national holiday, and the way the reactionary right tries to claim national holidays, symbols, and rituals remains to this day.

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