On this page we will look back at life in the city during the war years. Here we will provide the visitor with the stories making the news, what was happening in sports and entertainment, city politics, the social scene and the prominent people at the time. So, check back often for new editions. To share your family or neighborhood stories, please email PhillyWWIyears@gmail.com
TODAY IN PHILADELPHIA – TUESDAY JULY 3, 1917
The rain which began last night will be over by late this afternoon. Mercifully the downpour brought cooler temperatures. The high today will reach a pleasant 72° and the low tonight near 65°. The forecast for tomorrow is for clear, blue, bright skies and a high temperature around 81°.
Philadelphia is preparing for Independence Day and there will be celebrations in every neighborhood of this city. Of course there will be bands and parades, flag raisings and flag waiving along with speeches from political, religious and civic leaders. But as the country is now embroiled in war there will also be an air of seriousness and reflection not displayed for many years.
At Independence Hall the celebration will begin at 10:00am with music from the Municipal Band. This will be followed by songs from various school choirs and then speeches by Mayor Smith and other dignitaries. The Declaration will be read followed by the singing of the Star Spangled Banner and a closing prayer for our country and fighting men. Those attending will also include the descendants of the signers of the Declaration of Independence who are meeting here in convention.
Virtually every park and center will be filled with the sound of patriotic music and song. The various businessmen associations will all be sponsoring celebrations. At the Belmont Plateau hundreds of children will partake in athletic events followed by a sham battle and military maneuvers performed by the 2nd Regiment Artillery. The evening will be closed with band music and ice cream and cake for the little ones. An athletic carnival will be held at the Navy Yard and will include boxing matches between sailors and marines. Further north at Broad & Mifflin Streets there will be more athletic events. And for the evening entertainment there will be band music and fireworks after the sun goes down.
The celebrations are not just in the city. Out in the suburbs every town, big and small, is planning a day of patriotic pride and fun. For instance, Bala and Cynwyd have decided to hold a joint celebration with a parade starting at the Bala School and marching to the Cynwyd School. The schoolchildren will be dressed in a variety of costumes including George Washington, Woodrow Wilson, General Joffre and General Pershing.
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