The Czechoslovak Review/Volume 2/Masaryk's reception in Chicago
MASARYK’S RECEPTION IN CHICAGO
Since we got into the war Chicago has witnessed a number of patriotic demonstrations that were truly impressive. But in point of number and enthusiasm only the reception accorded to Marshal Joffre and the French mission a year ago can compare with the wonderful manifestation which took place upon the arrival of Professorin Chicago.
Masaryk arrived Sunday, May 5th, at 2:00 P. M. It is no exaggeration to say that all the Czechs and Slovaks of Chicago, including the children and the babies, turned out to welcome him. The Tribune states that 40,000 people were in the line of march: there were all the Sokol organizations, Bohemian and Slovak, freethinker and Catholic, including further other uniformed bodies and all the fraternal societies. Among other organizations were officers of the Slovak League, Bohemian members of exemption boards, the Bohemian Liberty Loan Committee, officeholders of Bohemian descent, Police Captain Ptáček and squads of policemen of Bohemian blood, visitors from Omaha, Cedar Rapids, Cleveland and other cities and various celebrities too numerous to mention. Masaryk was further welcomed by President of the University of Chicago, H. H. Merrick of the National Security League, representatives of the various Slav races of Chicago and consuls of the Allied countries. The line of march from the Northwestern station to the Blackstone Hotel was jammed with members of the Czechoslovak societies, and when the mile-long procession arrived on the lake front at the hotel, there were 200,000 people packed around the professor’s auto, filling up the wide Michigan avenue and overflowing into the side streets and into Grant Park.
A number of brief welcoming speeches were made in English and Bohemian, while moving picture cameras were grinding busily. Then Masaryk replied, also briefly. He spoke of the unshakeable determination of the Czechoslovak people to throw off the Hapsburg yoke and quoted the letter of a Bohemian mother to her son in a prison camp: “Your father is under ground, and your brother too; and you are not yet in the Czechoslovak army?” The Czech leader mentioned also that his principal task at present would be to hasten the transport of 50,000 fighters from Russia to France, stating that by the time these would be gone, there would be 50,000 more to go.