Colorful Parade Marks Vets’ Welcome Home

Celebration Lasts Far

Into the Night

"Thank you for a job well done and welcome home" was repeated again and again from 125,000 citizens of Utica and vicinity in the welcome home celebration yesterday which lasted far into the night and surpassed any event Uticans can remember.

The welcome home featured one of the longest and most colorful parades Uticans can remember – it was at least two miles long and, according to a count 2,751 were in the line of march. The 125,000 figure for the crowd was a police estimate.

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THE PARADE moved at 3:30 p.m. and formed in Genesee in the Liberty, Oriskany, Broad and Catherine areas. Nine divisions followed soldiers, a detachment of policemen and firemen and the first of 12 bands or drum corps, the World War II Band of East Utica. The parade moved south in Genesee to the Parkway bandstand, where colors were massed and medals presented to service men and women.

Leading the parade were Chief of Staff Alan Stevenson, past national commandant of the Marine Corps League, and Joseph Argen, personal aid to the chief of staff.

Brig. Gen. William E. Riley, USMC, former chief of staff to General Halsey, who was the principal speaker at the bandstand program, rode in the first car with James O’Keefe, grand marshal; Mayor Golder and A. J. Conboy, general chairman for the celebration. In the second car were Thomas C. Dedell, parade chairman; James Sapanara, member of the committee, and Ludwig Lange.

The Utica Post 229 Drum and Bugle Corps led the first division composed of veterans of Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Seabees, Merchant Marine, Nurses, WACS, WAVES, Marine Corps Women’s Reserve and SPARS.

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GOLD STAR MOTHERS directly behind in automobiles were Mrs. Maude Marron, Mrs. Rose Joy, Mrs. Martha Carr, Mrs. Mary Wineberg, Mrs. Clara Bender, Mrs. Mary Lockwood, Mrs. Marie Hoagland, Mrs. William Abramowicz, Mrs. Mary Urtz, and Mrs. Bailey. Drivers were Miss Eleanor Schmidt, president of Utica Post Auxiliary, Mrs. Louis Thomas, Michael Hanley Jr. and William Hausler.

Adrean Post 625 Drum and Bugle and the Syracuse Sons of the American Legion Drum Corps of Post 1 played in the third division and the New Utica Military Band played in the second division.

The Women’s Benefit Association Drum Corps and Drill team, Amsterdam, in snappy green and white uniforms preceded the fourth division.

Other bands and drum corps were the Red Band, Citizens Cadet Corps Band, Taberg Fife and Drum Corps, Utica Drum and Bugle Corps, and the Kiwanis Band of Frankfort.

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ONLY THOSE who participated in the parade have any conception of the vastness of the crowd wich stood at the curbs for the entire line of march. It was common sight to find the crowd six to 12 persons deep on each side of the street. In the Busy Corner area from Franklin Square to Seneca Square the sidewalks were just not wide enough and the crowd bulged into the street.

Motorcycle Officers Brady, Graziadel, Gouse and Sabis pushed the crowds back with cars containing Chief Jones and Deputy Commissioner Cavelle hugging the curb on one side and Deputy Chief Fiore and Lt. Cahill on the other curb at the head of the parade.

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IT WAS ESTIMATED by Chief Jones that approximately 30,000 persons watched the parade between Broad and Washington and another 25,000 between Washington and Tracy St. There was a big throng in the Oneida Square area and another from Noyes to Watson. It appeared the crowd was from three to five deep most of the way between congested areas.

From Memorial Hospital to the Parkway from Genesee to Oneida and around the corner into Oneida was also heavily lined.

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DESPITE THE CROWDS, favorable comments were heard on the manner in which police handled things. Last night Police Chief Jones personally thanked the public for the excellent co-operation given in observing parking restrictions for the parade.

Sidelights of the Welcome Home Parade

AMID THE LAUGHTER of spectators that jammed Genesee St., for the observance of Utica’s Welcome Home parade was the muffled sobs of several black-dressed women – Gold Star Mothers who joined in the celebration of world peace but lost a son, maybe in Bataan or somewhere in the Coral Sea or in Germany.

Then as Old Glory went by, one of them whispered to her friend as a former First Division soldier proudly held the Flag: "I hope that Johnny didn’t die in vain." Johnny died in the Battle of the Bulge.

Still another dim-eyed mother, who, reading the giant sign, "Next Time There Won’t Be Any Veterans", sobbed, "No, and I hope that there will be no Gold Star Mothers, either." * * *

William J. Cahill, 7 Beverly, chairman of the Welcome Home celebration in 1919 which expressed Utica’s gratitude to World War I veterans was an interested onlooker at yesterday’s ceremonies on the Parkway.

Watching the former soldiers, sailors and marines partaking of refreshments provided for them, Cahill said:

"This is different. Last time we did not have as many veterans. Still we made the party entirely for veterans. Now, it’s different – the wives and children come along. It’s a change but it probably is a good thing." * * *

DURING the time that the downtown area was congested with parade watchers two emergencies were handled by police.

While the parade was in progress, Miss Viola McGovern, 1515 Dudley became ill in front of the Doyle-Knower store and was taken to the Red Cross first aid station in Franklin Square where she was attended by Dr. Arthur S. Coriale. To provide hospital facilities away from the excitement of the celebration Miss McGovern was sent to General Hospital in the American Red Cross ambulance.

It was reported last night that she recovered sufficiently to be taken home.

In another incident that might have brought fire apparatus into the thronged main thoroughfare while the parade was passing, some excitement was created when someone noticed that the awning in front of the Gilbert Shop, 167 Genesee, was on fire.

Sgt. John J. Kelly Jr., in charge of a police detail, called the attention of men on the upper floors of the building to the burning awning, and in response a torrent of water came down from some position overlooking the blaze and the fire was extinguished. * * * ONE WOMAN with an attractive little tot persisted in marching about 200 feet ahead of the parade after it passed Hobart St. Police finally convinced her she should get on the sidelines. * * *

JOHNNY WALKER, professional heel and toe walker who lives at the Masonic Home, covered a lot of miles yesterday. He walked the parade line in reverse before it started and then finished strong past the reviewing stand ahead of the parade.

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SEVEN SAILORS and a soldier had a lot of playful fun at the Parkway after the parade. They did some snappy marching with some rapid "about face" that was tricky. They were having fun, and those who watched enjoyed it, too.

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SEVERAL non-uniformed veterans stood on the side lines and were distinguished by their lapel buttons.

"Maybe 10 years from now I may have a weak moment and put that uniform on again," one remarked. As an afterthought he said, "But by that time I shall probably have outgrown it, so I’ll never wear it again." * * *

FLOATS WERE SCARCE but vehicles, some with a trace of trimming, were plentiful, as veterans with too vivid memories of marching, took the easy way to participate in a parade.

The Disabled Veterans float was one of the most effective. A girl, symbolizing peace, stood patting a soldier, who was kneeling, in commendation of his service. Four service men stood guard around the circle the principals formed and on the back of the float were two wounded veterans in wheel chairs, flanked by a WAC and a WAVE.

Brought Up the Rear

Men and women from the local riding stables brought up the end of yesterday’s parade. After they reached the park, they ascended Steele’s Hill, rode about the hillsides and added to the spectacle.

No Next Time?

"There’ll Be No Veterans Next Time" was the grim sign featuring the American Veterans Committee contribution to the floats in yesterday’s parade.

Another float, entitled "Blood Plasma Saved a Lot of Lives" bore a wounded soldier and a companion on a sand beach.

Donors to Fund For Welcome

Additional names of contributors to the Welcome Home to Veterans Fund:

Harris-Simons Furniture Inc., McQuade Bros., Miss Margarette MacKenney, Health Spot Shoe Shop, H. H. Winchell Aux. 15, S. S. Kresge Co., Gigliotti Electric Washer Service, McFadden Socony Stations, New Chancellor Restaurant, Picker’s Gift and Lamp Shop, Dominick Rescino, Scala and Cavallo Inc., Wehl and Scala Agency, Malara Printing Co., George E. Bannigan, Eli Cramer and Co., Hoyt Tire Co., Guillaume and Co. Inc., Fort Schuyler Club, Weir’s Wheel Works, A. P. Clemente Flowers, John A. Dybas, Tripp’s Liquor Store Inc.

The finance committee is headed by Francis P. McGinty and Charles W. Hall and consists of F. F. Hickey, John Losee, George J. Winslow, Samuel Abend, Albert J. Magra, Angelo DeRosa, Charles Merlini, Joseph Metzger, Joseph Hameline, Max Berger, Edward A. Koenig, Phillip C. Hof.

Alan Stevenson, Thomas Welch, Stanley Jenkins, Andrew Roy, John Lockner, Stanley W. Jones, Gladys Moore, Ruth Georg, Samuel Slade, Rocco DePerno, Albert Woodard, Frank Gallo, Bart Roach, Anthony G. Bankert, K. R. Sturgeon, Anthony Sisti Jr., E. A. Allen, Dr. J. J. Wineberg and Dr. A. A. Kaplan.

This was copied from the Utica Daily Press Article of Thursday, Aug, 15, 1946.
Errors in grammar and spelling are as they appeared in the original article.
Thanks to Bob Quist at the Utica Public Library for researching the original article.
Ron Bednarczyk     October 22, 2002