Did you know this about the IW Knights of Columbus?
Our country celebrates Memorial Day on May 29th. As we remember those who died while serving our country – the Knights of Columbus should recall the significant sacrifice made by Brother Knights over the years and during many military engagements. The First World War was the first war with a major involvement by KofC members. Some 100,000 American members – including clergy and relief workers – were shipped “Over There” (to Europe) beginning in April of 1917. WWI officially began in July of 2014 and there were Canadian Knights fighting from the beginning.
This month the Columbia On-Line edition has posted an article entitled: “During World War !, Knights from North America provided abundant Material and Spiritual support for the Troops“. The entire article can be viewed on-line – the link to the article can be found on our Facebook page (that link is available by clicking here). The following are some excerpts from the article.
- To mark the centenary of the U.S. involvement in the war, a new major exhibit is now on display at the Knights of Columbus Museum in New Haven, Conn., and will be open through Dec. 30, 2018. The title of the exhibit, “World War I: Beyond the Front Lines,” speaks to soldiers’ lives during the long months of war, including how the Knights provided them major support.
- The Order’s work had such an impact that Gen. John Joseph Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF), stated that “of all the organizations that took part in the winning of the war, with the exception of the military itself, there was none so efficiently and ably administered as the Knights of Columbus.”
On April 14, eight days after the United States entered the war, the K of C Board of Directors passed a resolution, which was sent to President Woodrow Wilson. It assured the president that “the crisis confronting the nation hereby reaffirms the patriotic devotion of 400,000 members of this Order in this country to the Republic and its laws and pledges their unconditional support to the President and Congress.”
- The Knights’ Committee on War Activities coordinated fundraisers and war relief efforts, and the Order soon financed huts both in the United States and around Europe. When the first goal of $1 million was raised in record time from the stateside councils, the goal was upped to $3 million. Catholics and non-Catholics alike donated, and the goal was raised again to $12 million. The final amount exceeded $14 million — at a time when bread was 7 cents a pound.
- By the end of the war in November 1918, more than 116,000 American men and some 60,000 Canadians had died in the conflict. Among them were 1,500 members of the Knights of Columbus from the United States and approximately 120 Knights from Canada. Both the first and the last U.S. officers to die in the war were Knights.
- Soldiers needed a respite from the war; they needed Mass and the sacraments. The Knights of Columbus came to the rescue, providing a major service with recreation centers, which became known as Huts. The K of C hut slogan was “Everybody Welcome, Everything Free.” No soldier or sailor had to pay a cent for anything the Knights gave them, nor would any free-will offering on their part be accepted by the secretaries who ran the huts. They gave everything free to whomever walked in, with no questions about religion, race or rank.
Please visit us online at our web site: www.IWknights.com/AboutUs. Or, call Rob at: (314) 973-2373.
Please shop our book and CD Rack-in-the-Back. Suggested Donation for the CD’s is $3.00/title – books on the top shelf and the booklets Rack are FREE.