Patriotism on Campus
Procopians & Patriots
Patriotism ran high during the war years at St. Procopius College, as evident in the Studentsky Listy, the monthly student newspaper. The paper published many patriotic poems, speeches, and notes from alumni.
The campus marked the beginning of the United States' involvement in the war with a parade and a celebration.
Written by James Whitcomb Riley in 1902, shortly after the assassination of President McKinley, this poem was set to music written by John Phillip Sousa in 1914. It is inscribed on the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument in Indianapolis. (6)
The Studentsky Listy reprinted a part of the speech given by President Wilson to Congress on January 8, 1918. This speech later became known as his "14 Points" speech as it spelled out 14 objectives of the war. Its inclusion in the Studentsky Listy demonstrated the campus's patriotism and loyalty to the United States.
On the evening of Febrary 21st, 1918, the Very Rev. Procopius Neuzil, OSB, gave "an inspiring patriotic lecture...(which) was frequently interrupted by long applause." This speech was given after the United States had been part of the war effort for about a year. Procopians were dealing with alumni fighting overseas, food conservation, military drills on campus, and the overall uncertainty inevitably brought by war.
The article goes on to say "Fr. Francis' artistic touch reached its triumph in the slide picturing our College draped deftly in the folds of the Red, White and Blue. Tho shown frequently, this picture elicts thunderous applause every time." Procopians enthusiastically backed the war effort.
Raising money for the war was a serious concern, achieved partly through the sale of war bonds. This full-page ad appeared in the December 1918 edition of the Studentsky Listy.
Many students participated in training exercises on the grounds of the campus. The paper frequently used "The Kaiser" to refer to Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. He was often the butt of jokes. (7)
Rumors of the war's ending preceded the actual event, as can be seen in this excerpt. The students' noisy celebration was joined by many others, worldwide.
St. Procopius College students joined in a parade celebrating the end of the war. This photo shows a group of students in the parade holding a school banner. Fighting ceased on November 11, 1918. Known as "the eleventh hour of the eleventh month of the eleventh day," it was a day met with much rejoicing.