(junction of Washtenaw Avenue and Cross Street)
Memorial Monument Presented to City (Ypsilanti Times - May 20, 1940): Colorful ceremony marks unveiling by Mrs. Fred W. Green. Kelly sees event as Americanism tribute. Rep. Earl C. Michener says time now grave, need good judgement.|
All Roads seemed to converge Saturday on the statue, "The Hiker" dedicated to the youthful, gallant Americans who went to war with Spain in 1898. The monument, situated on the triangle of land opposite that on which the statue of Gen. Demetrius Ypsilanti stands, was formally unveiled and presented to the city of Ypsilanti in a colorful ceremony which opened with the approach of members of the 31st Michigan Volunteer Infantry. United Spanish War Veterans and gay marching musical units including smartly uniformed Ypsilanti High School band, the dashing Girls Drum and Bugle Corps, the Ford Highlanders and the Drum and Bugle Corps of Duffield Camp, Detroit. The event marked the reunion of the veterans and the homecoming of Company G. through whose efforts the statue of The Hiker was obtained.
Mrs. Fred W. Green, escorted by Grant Pierce in the war uniform of his father, Walter C. Pierce, officer of the day, walked to "The Hiker" and amid applause unveiled the striking figure, the last work of the gifted Allen G. Newman, who died in February, this year.
Indicating The Hiker, Honorable Harry F. Kelly, Secretary of State, said, when he had been introduced by Gen. John P. Kirk, "We are paying today a tribute to plain American citizenship. I do not know whether our Hiker came from the South or East, the North or West; I do not care. Whether he came from a large city, or a village; I do not care; whether from the of labor or from a college; I don't care. We do not know what religion he learned at his mother's knee. We do not care. It is enough for us that he illustrates the basic quality of American government.
Must Rededicate Selves: "We must rededicate ourselves to real two-fisted American citizenship. There have been those who tried to sow seeds of hate. Let us rather sing a song of love. A government is made for man, and not man for government. We must aim for cohesiveness and preparedness in every way. You have been hiking ever since you came back from war," continued Secretary Kelly, "and have asked for nothing just for yourself. We will celebrate Sunday for the first time "I am an American day," and who can take a greater part than you?
"I bring you today the good wishes of the State of Michigan, and congratulate Phillip Becker, Walter C. Pierce and your Major Kirk and committee for bringing about this kind of an occasion."
Grave Times: "Captain Kirk, Major Kirk, General Kirk," said Hon. Earl C. Michener in acknowledging Gen. Kirk's introduction. Changing to a grave tone he said, "These are serious times. As we stand here there hangs over us the pall of war. God alone knows what the future has in store for us. But remember that the United States is not at war today with anybody," he said with deep impressiveness.
"The principal concern we have in Washington," he continued, "is to see to it that if possible we do not go to war with anybody. Sufficient preparedness is the best way to keep out. The biggest job we have is to keep our feet on the ground and our heads on our shoulders. We should not get into war because of a momemtary mass feeling. Congress in 1898 did not want to go to war and did not go until it was demanded. We shall not go today until the mass of the people demand it. Beware of propaganda which leads us into positions that we shall regret at a future date. A woman writes me: "It is 2 o'clock in the morning, I have been listening to the radio. I have two boys; my neighbor lost two boys in the last war. Please don't send my boys over there to fight."
"President Roosevelt receives mail by truckloads every day both for and against the war. I join in the belief that your government is not going to make any declaration that will cause any of our boys to fight outside the western hemisphere."
Before concluding Congressman Michener spoke briefly to Mrs. Green: "I wish you knew, Mrs. Green, how all the boys feel about Freddy Green. He was a lieutenant, but he mingled with the privates. We shall always remember him."
Must Have Army-Navy: John P. Kirk, who was Major over Company G., stating that the large attendance was indeed gratifying said, "just 42 years ago we left for the purpose of participating in war with Spain, and it was 41 years almost to the day when we returned. We nearly all contracted fever due to unpreparedness by the government. The country sent soldiers to Chickamauga without rifles to fight with. There has been preparedness practiced since, but not sufficient. When the guns are thundering we shall have reason to give serious thought to this. This country." he said impressively, "must have an army and a navy and as good an airforce, if not better, than any other country in the world.
"We all detest war," asserted Mr. Kirk. "It brings disaster to everyone connected with it. We have never desired war; but it has been forced upon us at times. May war never come to us! We are recognized as the strongest nation in the world and have sufficient man power.
"Our flag that is good enough to live under is good enough to fight for," maintained the speaker. "Soldiers have suffered torture and pain in the interests of their country and for the flag." "We must have a tribute of some sort or an arbitration board whose results every nation will abide by."
Mr. Kirk then affirmed that "The Hiker" was the outcome of a wish to keep alive the deeds of the Spanish War Veterans, originating with Fred Green. "For weeks one of our comrades spent all his time to raise all that was possible. There was $3,000 raised. Walter C. Pierce," he said, "much credit is due to you and if it were not for you I honestly believe we would not be here today. The City of Ypsilanti gave $500, the supervisors of Washtenaw County $200, Fred Yedley $400, the American Legion $100, the Knoghts of Pythias $125, and others under $100."
Accepts Monument: Dr. Harvey C. Colburn gave the invocation and Ross K. Bower, mayor of Ypsilanti, giving the acceptance for tha city spoke of the Normal College having assumed the responsibility of caring for the grounds on which the statue stands. "In some European countries they are tearing down monuments fot the purpose of... We are proud of the men of Company G," he said.
Entertainment of several kinds was provided in the afternoon Saturday. In Roosevelt High School auditorium an entertainment arranged embracing an octette and a brass sextette from Community band; a track meet in Briggs' Field continued in the afternoon. Miss Marjorie Backus'pupils in tap dancing gave a program in the lounges at both ends of the hall on the first floor. Miss Mary Stacklewitz gave a military dance, Miss Madge Starr an acrobatic number, Miss Nancy Patterson danced "Sweet Sue," Miss Suzanne Oakes gave a waltz and Miss Donna Peebles "Cane Swing."
Many at Banquet: There were between four and five hundred at the evening banquet which closed the 41st Annual Reunion of 12 companies of the 31st Michigan Volunteer Infantry, United Spanish War Veterans and Homecoming of Company G. Glags in holders and red and blue strips ran the length of the tables.
Animated orchestral music and tap dances were enjoyed.
Mr. Kirk was toastmaster, George Becker's singing of "God Bless America" was very impressive and under his direction the audience repeated the song. Mr. Kirk thanked President John Munson for his kindness throughout the time pf preparing for the reunion. Introductions of visitors were made together, with their wives, and nearly all acknowledged the introductions with a bow.
In speaking on the banquet program, Congressman Michener reminded the audience, "If war comes WE are not going, but boys and grandchildren are the ones that will fight the battles of the future. In the World War we fought to make the world better and give other nations what we enjoyed in the United States. The Phillippines were made free by your efforts. The Spanish War made the United States a world power. We should never again send our boy's to a world war. We went to war to make the world safe for democracy; now after 21 years there is scarcely a trace of democracy left in the world. We should set up an assembly in this country so that the Statue of Liberty shall mean what it was intended to mean. Murder is murder wherever it is, whether in Japan or France.
He concluded with a warning that the two billion dollars need for armaments now will not be easy to obtain since prople are now paying about all they can in taxes.
Business Expedited: Int the business meting in Roosevelt auditorium Saturday roll call was the first important item of business, with Walter C. Pierce presiding and Louis B. McMullen recording the names of missing members. Reading the minutes of last year's meeting was dispensed with.
It was decided that the widows of deceased members be sent notices of meetings, and that these names be sent to Secretary McMullen.
Baskets of Flowers were presented by the W.R.C. and the Daughters of Veterans.
|"The Hiker" Monument Acceptance Speech: Ross K. Bower, Mayor of Ypsilanti
Mr. Chairman, honored guests, members of the 31st Michigan, ladies and gentlemen.
It is with distinct pleasure and privilege for me, in behalf of the people of Ypsilanti, to accept this beautiful monument. It is beautiful.
I know something of the work that was necessary to accomplish the placing of this monument. You are to be complimented for a job well done. I understand that the Michigan State Normal College has assumed the responsibility for the landscaping and the care of this plot of ground. You may be assured, therefore, that the surroundings for this monument will always be kept.
How fortunate we are that we can meet here today to dedicate a monument to veterans of the Spanish American War. In some countries they are tearing down monuments and melting them up to wage more war. May this never happen to "The Hiker."
We erect monuments to men who have completed their work and accomplished some great purpose, but I should like to remind you that there is still much more work to be done. We must continue to fight certain influences that are leaving no stone unturned to discredit and destroy the American system of government, based on the ideals and institution embodied in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States - the ideals and institutions which constitute Americanism, and which, in only a century and a half, have made us a nation second to none in greatness and influence, in power and wealth. The Communists, the Fascists, and the Nazists would destroy all of these. We cannot let them destroy our American system. We need a rebirth of patriotism, national harmony and a moral arming which will make impossible in America the existence of an "ism" except Americanism, and which will untie, strengthen and consolidate us as a nation, and being so considered, others will refrain from attacking us. Thus will it help to keep us out of war. But should war be forced upon us, this national harmony and patriotism will help us win.
"The Hiker" stands here, facing our Normal College, watching over these young men and young women who are being trained for our public schools, admonishing them to go out into the work and teach Americanism, and to combat effectively all the other "isms" which are menacing the life of our nation.
Again, I want to express the gratitude of our City for this monument. We are proud of our men who were members of the 31st.