A victory parade at Madison Square Park

In March 1919, the city threw a spectacular parade on Fifth Avenue to honor the soldiers from New York’s 27th Division, who broke the Hindenburg Line in World War I and forced the Germans to retreat. 

A ceremony took place at the victory arch at Madison Square Park, built in 1918 and modeled after the Arch of Constantine in Rome. Nope, it’s not there anymore. Despite an attempt to make it a permanent part of the park, the arch was eventually torn down.

victoryarch1

Of 27,114 men, the 27th division sustained more than 8,000 casualties. The New York Times had this to say about the parade: 

“Early Tuesday morning the Avenue from 23rd Street to 26th Street will be carpeted with sand and roped off. As the head of the parade comes down the ropes will be severed by a bayonet wielded by a Sergeant wearing British and American valor medals.

“A caisson with memorial casket and wreath, drawn by eight black horses, with a military guard, will pass slowly under the arch, while the guns of the harbor’s forts boom out a 21-gun salute.”

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