Article by Joseph P. Heenan
From the records of the Society, March 17, 1819 and 1919
200 Years Ago
March 17, 1819, The Philadelphia Friendly Sons of St. Patrick induct Major General Andrew Jackson into the society’s membership.
100 Years Ago
March 17, 1919, The Philadelphia Friendly Sons of St. Patrick held their Gala Anniversary Dinner naming it the “Victory Dinner” to celebrate the happy outcome reached on November 11, 1918.
Throughout the spring and summer of 1918, the American people anxiously watched developments on Europe’s battlefields. Tragedy entered many homes as the casualty lists appeared. American troops had for some time been pouring into France and during the late spring had cooperated in halting the German offensive at the second battle of the Marne. When the Allies launched their counter offensive in June, over one million American soldiers spearheaded a drive which broke the Hindenburg line. With this allied victory Germany sued for peace and an armistice was agreed to and signed on November 11, 1918.
Divine blessing was invoked by society member Most Rev. Dennis J. Dougherty, D.D., Archbishop of Philadelphia. Guest speaker Colonel Hiram J. Bearss of the U.S. Marine Corps speaking extemporaneously gave a few anecdotes, humorous and serious, of the war. Colonel Bearss received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Philippine-American War and the Distinguished Service Cross for his valor in World War I.