Memorial Day at the Immanuel Church, Glenview, Illinois (1918)

soldiersglenview.jpg“Memorial Day was celebrated by the Immanuel Church in a very impressive manner. A special morning service was held in the Church, when the pastor delivered [a] very forceful address on the lines suggested by President Wilson’s request that the day be made one of prayer for the success of our armies now entering the great conflict in Europe. . .

After the service the congregation proceeded to the grounds near the school house to take part in the Flag-raising ceremony. The Boy Scouts led the procession, followed by the school children and the young ladies dressed in their Red Cross uniforms. Standing around the flagstaff, the bugle sounded, the flag was raised and saluted, and the children repeated the ‘pledge to the flag.’ After the singing of the National Anthem, Mr. G. A. McQueen made a brief address on ‘Our Boys.’ The young ladies of the Red Cross then sang a number of verses, bringing in the names of all of our boys who have joined the colors, the audience joining in the chorus.

’Tramp, tramp, tramp the boys are marching,
Cheer up comrades, they will come,
And beneath the starry flag, we shall breathe the air again
Of the free land in our own beloved home.’

During the singing the names of the boys in gold letters were attached to a board in sight of the spectators. After singing ‘My Country, Tis of Thee,’ the Red Cross ladies presented to the Church a beautiful service flag containing thirteen stars. All then marched in procession to the entrance of the park, where the flag was suspended, to remain a constant reminder of the New Church boys who have gone to war from Glenview” (G.A. McQueen, “Church News: Glenview,” New Church Life 1918, 441-442).

Pictured above, four of Immanuel Church’s seventeen volunteers in World War I. Left to right: Harold McQueen, Ralph Synnestvedt, Ben McQueen, Crebert Burnham.

During World War I New Church Life published lists of New Church members who lost their lives in the war (the “Roll of Honor”) and those who were actively serving in the war (the “Field of Honor”). The “Roll of Honor” was always preceded by the following quotation from The True Christian Religion by Emanuel Swedenborg:

“Who does not remember and love him who fights even unto death that his country may be free” (TCR 710).

There were also a variety of reports about what “our boys” were doing:

edwinasplundhwwi.jpg“There are six of our boys in training at Camp Hancock, Augusta, Georgia. Though the work is strenuous it seems to agree with them, for they are all gaining in weight. Frank Doering, of the 111th U. S. Infantry, writes that his company has been chosen for bayonet specialization on account of the size of the men. Lately he was sent on a forty mile hike; returning at 10 o’clock at night, he was put on guard duty until 5 o’clock the next morning. He ‘certainly was tired’—that is the first complaint of army life that has been received from Frank. Captain [Edwin T.] Asplundh [pictured above] is busy, –so busy, in fact, that the other boys say they rarely see him and never get to speak to him; nevertheless he is enjoying his work and is happy that he is able to do his ‘bit.’ The boys at Camp Hancock have been holding services every Sunday; first, at the rooms of Lieut. [Randolph W.] Childs, but as the landlady ‘did not wish her home to be turned into a lecture room,’ they have accepted the hospitality of Mrs. Twiggs, who is an enthusiastic New Church woman with whom Lieut. Childs and his wife have become acquainted. Though she has never lived with New Church people she is well read in the Writings, and it is a unique pleasure to her to be with young people who have such an active and affectionate interest in the Church.

Both Francis Roy and Gerrit Barger are Sergeants. Gerrit is assisting a State College professor in teaching French to the men at the camp. He says he is lonely, ‘but,’ he continues, ‘don’t worry, I am still the same happy-go-lucky, and I guess I will roll through this war all right.’ Llewellyn Price, formerly a draftsman on the Bryn Athyn Church building, now a first class private at Camp Hancock, received a silver radiolite wrist watch, engraved on the back with his initials and the following legend, ‘From the Bryn Athyn Church workers’” (“Notes from the Training Camps in America,” New Church Life 1917, 771).

Photos: Glenview Centennial Commission, Glenview: The First Centennial (Glenview, Illinois, Paul H. Thomas, 2000), 98; Raymond and Mildred Pitcairn Archives, Bryn Athyn, PA.

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May 27, 2007 | Posted by: Ed and Kirsten Gyllenhaal in New Church History Fun Fact