Happy Throwback Thursday!
I’m always a sucker for parades. Whether it was marching with flag-decorated paper bags in my parents’ front yard on July 4th or with the girl scouts or high school band on Memorial Day, parades have always brought me a sense of patriotism and camaraderie.
While perusing the Manchester Historic Association’s archives as I normally do, I came across some photos of a ‘Liberty Loan Parade’ held here in Manchester around 1917 or 1918.
Liberty Loan (or Bond) Parades were held throughout WWI to encourage Americans to purchase liberty bonds. “Liberty Bonds…were a war bond that were sold in the United States to support the allied cause in World War I. Subscribing to the bonds became a symbol of patriotic duty…” There were four releases of the bonds throughout 1917 and 1918. “Through the selling of “Liberty bonds,” the government raised around $17 billion for the war effort. Considering that there were approximately 100 million Americans during that time, each American, on average, raised $170 on Liberty bonds.”
Liberty Loan Parades were held throughout the country. Most notably, however, was not the Manchester Parade, but the Philadelphia Parade. Days after Philadelphia’s Liberty Loan parade in September 1918, which was attended by 200,000 people, hundreds of cases of influenza were reported. Known as the Great Pandemic of 1918-1919 it is estimated that 675,000 Americans were among the dead.
Luckily, New Hampshire was not hit as hard as Pennsylvania or even Massachusetts. However, the influenza certainly did impact our state. “On October 4, 1918, On Oct. 8th, city officials in Manchester demanded that all soda fountains close. Restaurants, which remained opened, were told to boil dishes for twenty minutes after use. Citizens were also asked to refrain from making unnecessary visits to their friends and neighbors… The epidemic appears to have peaked during the week of October 12th, when 393 deaths were reported for the state. Influenza remained prevalent throughout the state until the summer of 1919.”
See photos of the Liberty Loan Parade here in Manchester below. I just love looking at the storefronts that lined Elm (AND those electric arches)!