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125 Years in Reveiw – 1910s

 
When the United States enters World War I in 1917, Supreme Knight Flaherty writes President Woodrow Wilson telling him that the Order plans to establish centers to provide for the troops’ “recreational and spiritual comfort.” The Knights’ services, he says, will be offered “regardless of creed.”
In 1912, with support from the Knights, the Columbus Memorial Fountain is dedicated in Washington, D.C. Some 20,000 Knights attend the ceremonies. A reporter for the Washington Star notes that the large number of Knights in attendance “marked anew the important position of the Knights of Columbus as an order in the social fabric of the United States.”

Tens of thousands of copies of a “bogus oath” are circulated to defame the Knights of Columbus. In 1914, the Knights lay the groundwork for a lecture series and educational programs to combat anti-Catholic hostility.

Between August 1914, when the Order’s Commission on Religious Prejudice is established, and January 1917, when it is dissolved, the number of anti-Catholic publications drops from 60 to fewer than five.
When National Guardsmen are sent to the U.S.-Mexico border in 1916 to prevent Mexican Gen. Francisco “Pancho” Villa from raiding towns in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas, Knights of Columbus councils in those states spontaneously respond to the religious and social needs of troops serving there.
By the summer of 1917, the Order’s War Activities Committee is fully operational. The Order opens service centers or “K of C Huts” in training camps and behind the lines of battle. The Knights and independent fund drives raise nearly $30 million to finance the huts.

 

 



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