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 – THURSDAY JUNE 21, 1917
The Italian War Commission concluded its visit to Philadelphia today. And just like yesterday crowds of cheering onlookers waiving American and Italian flags lined the streets as the delegation passed by on its tour. The morning began with a visit to Independence Hall. Upon arrival the delegation stopped for a moment at the statue of President Washington. Standing nearby was Mrs. Mary Trapizzani of 1154 South 8th Street with her children Elizabeth, age 4 and John, age 3 (shown below). The children were resplendently dressed in the colors of America and Italy. One carried an American flag while the other an Italian flag. When the little ones saw Senator Marconi they rushed to him and presented him with their flags. The great inventor smiled broadly at the children, took the flags and bent down to kiss and hug the little patriots which brought ecstatic cheers from the crowd.
The Commission then entered the Hall and walked toward the Liberty Bell. Each member of the delegation paused for a moment and then reverently touched the noble relic. Tears were clearly seen in the eyes of Senator Marconi as he took his turn. Then he said “The notes of this bell are sounding louder today than they did in 1776”. After a short ceremony in the Declaration Room the group departed for a visit to the John Wanamaker Department Store where they were met by the Wanamaker Corps of Cadets and presented with the flags of the United States and the City of Philadelphia as a gift from the employees.
From there the delegation attended a luncheon at the Manufactures Club where Mayor Smith spoke expressing his wish that after the war the representatives of all the Allied powers would return to Philadelphia and meet at Independence Hall for the signing of a peace agreement that would last for all time. Senator Marconi also spoke and stated that the Commission had been inspired by this grand city of brotherly love. And he asked that they be permitted to return to this “mecca of liberty” when the war was over. After the luncheon the Commission was taken to Reading Terminal where more than 15,000 people crowded into the station to bid them farewell. With the crowd shouting “Arrivederci” and “Viva l’Italia” the members of the Commission said their goodbyes and waived to the crowd as they boarded the train.
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