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COLFAX — The following article was published on the front page of the Colfax Messenger November 14, 1918, about the Armistice to bring World War I to an end on November 11, 1918:
Germany Licked, Kaiser Canned, War Over
Colfax Does Itself Proud in the Way of a Patriotic Celebration of the Joyful News — Business is Suspended in Order to Celebrate — Speeches, Songs and Prayers are Features
Colfax, like practically every other place within the borders of the good old United States, there was a premature celebration of peace last Thursday, followed by a celebration of the genuine on Monday, beginning in the very early hours of the morning, continuing all day and well into the night, while in some of the larger cities, there was a continuation on Tuesday.
The news of the signing of the armistice was officially received in Eau Claire at 2:45 Monday morning and a little later in Colfax. At 5:25, actual time, celebration of the greatest event in American history began here. The gladsome news was followed by the ringing of church bells and school bells. It was not long before there was a general awakening and the crowds began to gather on Main Street. Every noise making device was resorted to, such as shooting guns and revolvers, and pounding tin utensils.
The first real demonstration came at 10 a.m. when the faculty of the high school, teachers and pupils formed a parade and marched through the streets. They formed a square on Main Street, where patriotic songs were sung.
Another parade was given at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, in which the older people participated.
The procession was led by Roscoe O. Chenevert, Magnus Swenson and Philip Fjelsted, the latter two now being in the service of their country and the former having already served three years with the Canadian troops. They were followed by parents of the boys from here now in the service.
The procession passed through the principal streets of the village, thence back to the municipal building, where a brief out-of-door program was given, O.G. Kinney presiding.
Following the singing of “America,” a prayer was offered by Rev. Wikre in the Norwegian language, after which O.M. Wanvig gave an address most appropriate to the occasion, after which the gathering dispersed. However, there was a continuation of the noise-making.
Like on Thursday preceding, there was one uppermost thought: “The boys will soon be home.” Ecstatic joy filled Colfax in the thought that “the war is over; peace has come.”
At the time of the premature celebration, in spite of a drizzling rain, there was a general suspension of business and all flocked to the streets to give evidence of joy. Voices shouted the glad tidings, whistles blew, bells rang, guns and revolvers were fired. In some cases the emotions were too great to hold back tears of joy.
The jollification on Thursday was continued into the evening. Around the supper hour there was a continuation of the noise-making and a little later an impromptu meeting was held in the auditorium of the municipal building. There patriotic songs were sung, speeches were made and prayers offered.
The meeting was opened Dr. L.A. Larsen, whose patriotic utterances were applauded to an echo, as was also the case with the remarks offered by Geo. T. Vorland, Chairman Fred Martin, Rev. J.E. Sachtjen, Rev. T. Saetveit and Rev. R.L. Lund. The impressive meeting closed with the benediction by Rev. Wikre.
But alas! The evening papers arrived on the 10:03 train. They brought the disheartening intelligence that the report which had flashed over the land was untrue — that the military forces of Germany had not signed the armistice — that battles “over there” were still raging and human lives being sacrificed.
Every mother’s son of us — and daughters, too — felt that we had been robbed of something precious. We had all been aroused to the climax of patriotic fervor. But we only thought so, for on Monday, when the truth was known, there was no relaxing and all “went over the top” again. This is a Great America.
The Messenger is a day late this week. Reason: Two days of celebration since the last issue of the paper. There was ample cause for celebrating and rejoicing, and under the circumstances, we believe that subscribers will be lenient and reserve condemnation.
On Thursday of last week, there was little work done after the noon hour and on Monday last, the entire force absolutely forgot the trials of the print shop and entered into the spirit of the occasion. The armistice signed continues for thirty days and it is safe to predict that the military of Germany has had enough. Internal conditions in Germany seem far worse than was supposed by the outside world and it is evident that the nation has had its fill of the horrors of war and will be only too glad to abide by the peace terms laid down.
France and the United States are the first to unite in extending a helping hand to the German people — more evidence of the fact that these nations and their Allies were struggling for humanity, rather than for conquest and bloody gore.
Everything points to the fact that the war which has just ceased will be the last of its kind for many years to come and it is the general belief of students of economic problems internationally that the world will be at peace for generations to come, barring the straightening out of a few deplorable conditions, such as in Russia and Mexico, and in those countries, the disturbing elements should, and no doubt will, be taught a lesson, providing they do not profit by the experiences through which we have passed.