It is pure shame that an individual/s would desecrate a mausoleum in Albany Rural Cemetery this past summer and just recently the Vietnam Memorial in LaFayette Park was defaced by graffiti. Fortunately both memorials were cleaned and restored. Last year the Tri-County Council of Vietnam Era Veterans raised $250,000 to refurbish the 23-year-old memorial and added new features including benches and a 30-foot lighted flagpole.
During my thesis research numerous articles were copied and saved which detail the American fervor for patriotism after American entry into World War I in April 1917. The Capital District was no different than other American cities. A patriotic wave swept the Nation where all things German became hated. Germany was now our enemy and the "Hun" had to be defeated. This fervor also morphed an over excited American population where any citizen could bring charges of not being patriotic against anyone.
An example of this below comes from the Albany Evening Journal dated 17 April 1918;
CITIZENS MAY ARREST DISLOYAL PERSONS
ANY AMERICAN MAY BRING TO JUSTICE THOSE UTTERING UNPATRIOTIC REMARKS
If you ever, on the street, or in a trolley car, should hear some soft-shell pacifist or hard-boiled but poorly camouflaged pro-German, make seditious or unpatriotic remarks about your Uncle Sam you have the right and privilege of taking that person by the collar, hand him over to the nearest policeman or else take him yourself before the magistrate.
You do not require any official authority to do this and the only badge needed is your patriotic fervor. The same thing applies to women. Every American under provisions of the code of civil procedure, has the authority to arrest any person making a remark or utterance which "outrages public decency."
Attorney general Lewis wrote an opinion to this effect today, after F.J. McCarthy of Silver Creek, arrested a man he heard make a seditious remark promptly took him before a justice of the peace and had him imprisoned for three months, all inside of three hours. ...McCarthy was standing in the lobby of a hotel when he overheard the remark which was to the effect that "it is a shame to send our young men across to Europe to be slaughtered."
One week earlier on 8 August 1918 the Albany Evening Journal reported;
SWIFT PUNISHMENT FOR NOT RESPECTING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM
Benjamin F. and Earle Bullis, brothers, 22 and 20 respectively, who were arrested in Proctor's Fourth street theater, Troy, last night, for failing to rise when "The Star Spangled Banner" was played were summarily discharged from the Watervliet arsenal, at which they were employed, face a charge of disrespect to the flag for which they were arraigned before United States Commissioner Sipperly and committed to jail without bail to await a hearing later, and will be arraigned in Police Court tomorrow on the charge of disorderly conduct.
Colonel Monroe commandant at the arsenal, issued a statement today giving notice that he had discharged the men and would deal similarly with any like case in the future. The brothers are from Amsterdam and were given a deferred classification for being arsenal workers.
The next day the Bullis brothers' fate was reported again in the Albany Evening Journal newspaper dated, 9 August 1918;
SIX MONTHS EACH FOR BULLIS BROTHERS
TROY JUDGE REFUSED LECIENCY TO ARSENAL EMPLOYE WHO FAILED TO RISE FOR NATIONAL ANTHEM
THEY'RE, SORRY, SAID ATTORNEY
A mother's tears nor the eloquent plea for leniency by a prominent lawyer from Amsterdam failed to prevent Judge Byron in Troy Police Court today, passing sentence on B. Fay Bullis and Earle Bullis, brothers, of Amsterdam, for being the cause of the disturbance in Proctor's Fourth street theater in Troy Wednesday night, when they refused to stand while "The Star Spangled Banner" was being played. The court sentenced each to the county jail for six months, and there is also a charge under the espionage act pending against them before United States Commissioner Slipperly, besides which they have been discharged from their lucrative positions at the Watervliet arsenal and recommended for immediate induction into the army.
Yes, times have changed greatly. This should be food for thought for the disrespectful and for them to be grateful that times have changed.