Series: Town Bands

Patriotic Celebrations

Iowans of the first decades of the 20th-century were decidely patriotic. Across the state, patriotic celebrations featured flags, bunting, speeches, recitations, parades, and performances by the the local band. If a town decided to celebrate in a particularly big way, additional bands might be brought in from surrounding towns.

Of course, the premiere patriotic event was the Fourth of July celebration. The planning and execution for Battle Creek’s 1908 Fourth of July celebration was described in great detail by the local newspaper. Extensive excerpts of these newspaper articles can be found here.

The other big patriotic celebration was the annual Decoration Day, in which community members would parade to the local cemetery to clean and decorate the graves of Civil War veterans. The modern Memorial Day holiday grew out of this tradition.

There were many other occasions for patriotic celebrations calling for a band, such as visits by presidents, governors, and other high-profile political figures. The Spanish American War (1898) and World War I (1917-18) also generated many events in which communities demonstrated their patriotic spirit.

Jan 22, 2017

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