Scenes Such As Will Never Be Replaced
— World War I Centennial Commemoration —
The first transports of returning World War I servicemen arriving at the port in mid-February 1919. Under the sponsorship of the Welcome Home Committee, celebrations were organized whenever ships landed. The fire bells of the city were set to pealing, and bands greeted men at the docks and the marched with them. School children, release from their studies, lined the parade route and waved flags to promote additional fanfare.
Of all the days of welcome, one of the most memorable was May 20, 1919, the occasion of the return of Virginia's own "Blue and Gray" Twenty-ninth Infantry Division. Throngs of friends and relatives lined the avenues of the waterfront and to the Casino Park grounds beyond, watching to catch a glimpse of their men.
A similarly spectacular episode a few days later on May 25 marked the re-entry of Hampton's Battery D of the 111th Field Artillery. This grand occurrence was proclaimed "the biggest event ever pulled off in Newport News." As the transport Virginia sailed into the harbor, a flotilla of tugs, yachts and steamers greeted the vessel in jubilation. The band struck up a martial song.
The parade continued along Washington Avenue. Postcard of the event depicted multitudes gathered on the sidewalks with restraining policemen to hold the crowd at bay. The excitement of the scene was testified to by The Times-Herald:
The cry 'here comes Battery D' arose and the great crowd stood on its tiptoes. Then it was that half a hundred fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sweethearts and loved ones broke through the crowds and ran into the ranks to get one of the boys they had recognized. This happened a number of times as the columns kept coming into view. 'There he is!' one would should should involuntarily and then dart right through the lines, unmindful of guards unmindful of everything except that she had seen her boy and she was going to him.
The article ended, "Tears were everywhere," and another remarked there were scenes "such as will never be repeated."
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Notable Events • War, World I • Waterways & Vessels.
Location. 36° 58.609′ N, 76° 25.955′ W. Marker is in South Newport News in Newport News, Virginia. Marker can be reached from the intersection of West Avenue and 25th Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2501 West Ave, Newport News VA 23607, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Victory Arch (a few steps from this marker); Victory Avenue (a few steps from this marker); Newport News Victory Arch (within shouting distance of this marker); a different marker also named The Victory Arch (within shouting distance of this marker); Headquarters, Hampton Roads (within shouting distance of this marker); Warwick Hotel 1883-1961 (within shouting distance of this marker); Sons of the Flag (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); A Great Confederate Naval Victory (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in South Newport News.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 7, 2021. It was originally submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 32 times since then. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 7, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.