Guards, Band, Citizens, School Children Parade and Salute Flag and Sing Songs
Clang! Clang! Toot! Toot! Toot! Hurrah! Boom! Boom!! PEACE!!
The glad tidings of Peace reached Fairfax before the breakfast hour Monday morning and the shouting for joy soon heralded the news throughout the village, the very air carrying the overflowing cup of joy into the country until every farm household, too, knew that the great victory had been won and that Germany had gone down in defeat. The drastic terms of the armistice had been signed, the Kaiser’s doom sealed, and the world, including the German people, set free from arrogant military role.
It was a day for rejoicing the world over, and there could have been no spot in the allied nations that displayed more zeal and harmless hilarity to the square for then did Fairfax. Flags were soon floating over the business streets from the flag staffs of the village hall and school building and hundreds of them from private business places and residences.
Impromptu committees began arranging for a general demonstration, which developed into the most complete celebration ever witnessed in this village. Long planned and carefully worked out Fourth of July celebrations never began to approach the success which crowned this great event.
It was with difficulty that people kept on at their usual affairs during the forenoon, and when 3 o’clock in the afternoon came, the time arranged for closing business places and the beginning of the celebration, pent-up enthusiasm broke loose with a bang. Every bell in the village rang long and loud; the fire siren screeched there was the clang of tin pans, frying pans, boiler iron and every other noise producing device. Anvils were fired, guns shot off.
Then the Home Guards and a number of citizens gathered at the village hall and formed in line and headed by the Citizens Band marched to the public school, where the school children, headed by Prof. Adley and Col. C.H. Hopkins, formed in line behind the guards, each child carrying a flag, the entire body then marching to East Main street. Here a halt was made, all saluting the hug flag which floated over the street. The primary school children and the higher grades and high school also recited their respective pledges to Old Glory.
Again the line of march was taken up, the procession being swelled by many citizens who wanted to have a part in the grandest parade and demonstration ever held. The procession continued north to Brooklyn, thence west a block, thence south to West Main street. The parade was so long that long before those in the rear had reached the Brooklyn line and were still proceeding north, they could look across the open block and see the entire company of Home Guards, who were in the lead marching in a southerly direction.
During the whole time of the march the air was full of joyful noise–band music, hilarious cheers, the rattle of pans and the tooting of horns.
Uncle Sam was a conspicuous figure in the parade.
Another conspicuous, but most despised object was the hideous looking Kaiser, with devil horns, blood-smeared clothes, and all the characteristics of the demon which he is. The dummed dummy was subject to blows and kicks, while unstinted oaths and insults were heaped up this miserable frame.
Still another pleasing feature of the doings was the image of the crown prince, securely tied about the neck, his long lean makeup dragged through the streets behind an automobile.
When West Main street was reached the procession again halted. The Home Guards formed on one side of the street and the school children divided, one section facing the American flag and the Service flag, which hung over the street, from the south, the other sections facing the flags from the north. All stood in form of salute to the flags while the pledges were repeated. After this patriotic songs were sung, such as “America”, “Star Spangled Banner” and “Over There”. The band also played several patriotic and popular airs.
While the crowd still lingered in this block the image of the crown prince was sacrified in flames in the middle of the street.
The balance of the afternoon was given over to a general spasmodic celebration, and there was not a dull moment during the whole time.
As evening approached the general hilarious celebration increased. At seven o’clock the Home Guards again appeared upon the streets in full uniform and led by the band paraded around the block several times followed by a noisy, joyful crown each one doing his utmost to make more noise than the other fellow. During the afternoon the dummy of the Kaiser had been secured to the curfew tower and this furnished an object for “satisfaction” which was indulged in by battering the body with clubs, stones, mud, or any weapon handy.
Finally some one proposed a bon fire, and light, inflammable material was gathered and a huge fire built at the Ryan hotel corner. While the band and Home Guards marched around the fire the crowd sang, “Keep the Home Fires Burning.” As a further means of giving vent to the great joy a large canvas was brought into service, and several men and boys were ‘tossed up in the blanket.”
Then there was more marching and shouting, until nine o’clock, the appointed time for the burning of the Kaiser in effigy. Uncle Sam had been the honored guest all the evening, and now he was carried by the Home Guards to the scene of execution. With an American flag in one hand Uncle Sam mounted the ladder to the figure of the Kaiser, which had been saturated with kerosene, and touched it off. It was the great glee that the crowd watched the unholy image writhe and twist as the flames ate into his rotten body and the parts drop one by one to the ground. Finally there was no visible sign left of the wretch and the crowds proceeded with the merry-making.
On West Main street Colonel C.H. Hopkins sang a song most appropriate at this particular time, “While We are Getting the Kaiser,” the crowd joining in on the chorus. At the end of this pleasing feature three rousing cheers were given for Colonel Hopkins in recognition of his enthusiasm in war activities of the present day, as well as his services to the country in the Civil war, and his ability and willingness in all matters of local welfare.
One by one the participants in the celebration dropped out and went home, tired, but happy, and rested again in that sweet security which has not been felt since Germany started out to rule or ruin the world.