Tarpon Springs' Patriotic Parade a Splendid Affair

Many Nations Represented In The Lineup-Huge Float With Uncle Sam And
The Goddess Of Liberty-German Flag Is Trailed In The Dust Behind The Float

     The little city of Tarpon Springs is not lacking in patriotism, as was well evidenced by the patriotic parade and rally held Thursday night, in which practically every organization in the town, the leading citizens of the city and hundreds of others took part. The spirit betrayed shows Tarpon Springs’ willingness to do its “bit” in the war into which the United States has entered. 
     The parade was led by B. W. Morgan, bearing “Old Glory” on a tall staff, the flag being so large it required two ladies, Misses Maggie Mizzelle and Clarlee Hood, with guide lines, to keep it upright. The Smith City Band came next. Each member of the band did his best, and that would be hard to beat.
     The sailors were next in line. Most of them were “land-lubbers” but they had been drilled and costumed and it would have taken an able seaman to discover that they were not real midshipmen. George Fernald deserves credit for getting them together.
     Next in line was the monster float, about forty feet long, made in the shape of a battleship with two fighting masts and two funnels. A great American flag trailed from a flag pole in the very bow of the ship back to the captain’s bridge and the forward turrets. The driver, Mr. Albritton, was almost hidden behind the turret and Uncle Sam (Mr. Lutz) and the Goddess of Liberty (Miss Mattie Fernald) were standing on the forward deck with the American shield between them.  From the sides of the ship streamed the flags of the Allied nations, all of great size, on tall staffs. The float was constructed by H. W. Reigel who worked on it for two full days and at a personal expense to him of much real money. Mr. Lutz made a fine Uncle Sam, and though German-born is a most patriotic American, having fought in the Civil War, and is anxious to fight the German Keiser right now.
     Miss Mattie Fernald made a beautiful Goddess of Liberty and holding the torch of liberty on high made a picture that would inspire the young and old. But to finish describing the float without calling attention to the fact that the flag of Germany was trailing in the dust behind would be an inexcusable omission.
     After the float came the city council. Mayor A. C. Brooks, having been called to Tallahassee on urgent business was unable to be present. The Tarpon Rifle Club made a fine showing, bearing a big target with their name inscribed thereon. They are a good bunch to look at and some are crack marksmen.
     The Board of Trade was represented by L. D. Vinson and G. E. Noblit with a fine banner. Many other members of the board were in different sections of the parade.  The civic club, all in white, were certainly an inspiring body. They have done strenuous work and good work for tarpon Springs and to them belong much of the credit for last night’s affair being a signal success.
     The Greek community was the largest unit of the parade, possibly excepting, the school children. The Greeks have all expressed their willingness to fight for us and last night they turned out in great numbers and seemed delighted to be in line. They were led by D. Zurdos, the president of the Greek community.
    Next were the different fraternities, each bearing its separate banner, Webster Little carrying the Masonic banner, Mrs. A. E. Allemand bearing aloft the Eastern Star; H. M. Grammer carrying the Modern Woodmen banner; Abe Taripani representing the Knights of Pythias; T. J. Knowles carrying the W. O. W. banner. These fraternities are always ready and willing to anything for the benefit of Tarpon Springs, which has been demonstrated many times.
     The church people were creditably represented by a large number of ministers and laymn from each of their denominations.  Prof. H. O. Portz led the public school, each class being led by its teacher, and they made a beautiful spectacle all carrying flags. The public schools deserve much comment for their turnout but space forbids it now. The Parent-Teacher Club was represented and carried an appropriate banner. This club worked hard for the success of the rally and to them belongs much praise.
     The farmers were represented by two of our well known citizens carrying baskets of vegetables. Had all the back yard farmers been in line there would have been no one left for the balance of the parade. G. M. Morish and J. R. Shaw both made typical farmers and seemed perfectly at ease in this role. Paul Stinson trundled a wheelbarrow with vegetable flanked with flags.
     The Red Cross, emblem of mercy, was represented by some of Tarpon’s leading ladies and made a good showing. Some little tots were in line with the Red Crosses on them. They deserve more mention than we can give them at present.
     The Campfire Girls were indeed as pretty a bunch of maidens as we care to gaze on. They excited comment and admiration all along the line. The Boy Scouts were right behind and each of them wore a broad smile, They are proud to serve Uncle Sam, and should the war come over here will be of great value to the army.
     The veterans of previous wars marched proudly, and Tarpon Springs was proud to see the spirit manifested by these patriots who once faced each other on the firing line now marching side by side as a silent protest against autocracy as represented by Keiser William. J. C. Swallow wore the same suit he wore in the navy during the Civil War. They were a fine body of old men, and they have the right spirit.
     The Fire Department led the automobile section. The Fire Department is Tarpon Springs’ pride and they are ever ready to serve in war or peace.
     The Sponge Exchange Cigar factory workers marched in a body preceded by their automobiles. They made a fine showing, just as they make fine cigars.

Cuba’s Flag in the Procession

     The Cuban flag, furnished by the Cuban Consul of Tampa, was carried in the parade and the Cubans of our city were in line. The counselor of the Cuban Consulate, Signor Erasma Pelles came from Tampa, to be with them but the train was a little too late for this. However he was present at the park and expressed himself as more than pleased with demonstrations and went into raptures about the beauty of Tarpon Springs. Senor Pelles was entertained while here by Mr. and Mrs. L. L. Lucas. He said he was writing a book about impressions of the different cities he had visited-Paris, London, New York and other large cities, but that Tarpon Springs would be given a chapter as his impressions of this delightful city would remain with him forever.
     L. D. Vinson made a few very appropriate remarks and read a telegram that was sent by A. J. Balfour expressing his regrets at being unable to be present. The name Balfour brought ropusing cheers. 
     Mrs. George Riggni of Bradentown, representing the W. C. T. U., spoke of the work of that organization in the army and navy and appealed for  a dry county and state.  
     George Meindanis, one of our prominent Greek citizens, a graduate of the University of Athens, and who studied American law in New York, made an excellent patriotic address which met with many hearty cheers.    
     Harriet Baker Robinson, pastor of the Universalist Church here, spoke on the general subject of war. She made an able address and received much applause.
     Rev. L. G. Fourier made the closing address, his subject being, “The Flag and its Lessons.” He made it plain that Old Glory flies far above all other flags as an emblem of liberty and his remarks brought rousing cheers. 

Source: Tampa Tribune: 5-13-1917

Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers

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