99TH Anniversary of Camp Zachary Taylor’s Dedication Ceremony, November 3, 2016
Thursday, November 3, 2016, will mark the 99th anniversary of the formal Flag Raising and Dedication of Camp Zachary Taylor, birthplace of the 84th Division of the United States Army. Although the Flag Pole is long gone, “Flag Hill” still exists, only now occupied by homes.
Ninety Nine years ago on, Saturday November 3, 1917, Camp Zachary Taylor had been occupied already for 60 days, and the training of the 84th Division was well under way. The Flag Raising Ceremony and Military display of precision and spectacle that took place that day, amazed the audience and brought pride to their hearts. On a beautiful fall day, the entire 84th Division of 40,000 soldiers stationed at Camp Zachary Taylor, along with thousands of civilians, listened to the speeches of General Harry Hale and Governor A. O. Stanley.
They watched and listened to the buglers as the Flag was raised and unfurled on that early November morning. The following is a portion of an article that was printed in the Courier Journal on November 4, 1917.
The Courier Journal, Sunday Nov. 4, 1917.
The ethereal spirit of General Zachary Taylor must have looked down and smiled a blessing yesterday morning when 40,000 soldiers and civilians jointly paid respectful homage to their flag – the same “Old Glory” to whose field General Taylor added a star and which will permanently float over the army camp that bears his name.
With ideal weather conditions producing a perfect Indian summer day the ceremonies attending the flag raising were both brilliant and impressive.
“There it Flies – Unconquered and unconquerable” was the tribute paid by governor Stanley as he pointed to the banner whipping in the breeze high above his head. The remarks sent a thrill of pride through the breast of every American present, and the applause that followed lasted several minutes.
The ceremonies began promptly at 10:30 o’clock, but the visitors began pouring into the camp when the entrances opened at 9 o’clock. The soldiers began assembling at 10 o’clock and by the time the notables had arrived there was a solid wall of khaki stretching out of the base of “Flag Hill”.
Governor Stanley and his staff in full regalia marched out to the flag pole accompanied by General Hale and members of the Division Staff. The procession was formed in two columns of two at division Headquarters and was headed by General Hale and Governor Stanley. Following in order were Mayor Buschmeyer and Col. Laurence Halstead, Division Chief of Staff; Congressman Swagger Sherley and Adjt. General J. Tandy Ellis. Mrs. Stanley, wife of the Governor, and several young women of the party were escorted to the platform by Captain Oscar Griswold and Lieut. Willis Hale, aides to Maj. General Hale.
The governor’s party took several seats on the platform built around the flag pole, while the Division Staff formed a double rank directly in front. Every inch of the platform was draped in American Flags.
Governor Stanley was introduced by General Hale after a brief speech in which he said: “We have been called today to dedicate the flag of our country in the service for which it was designed. Our work at Camp Zachary Taylor is divided into two periods. The ceremonies today mark the completion of the first period – the period of construction. We are now entering on our second and last period, that of instruction, which will terminate with our departure to France.
Governor Stanley’s voice was at it’s best, and his speech was replete with glowing tributes to the flag and it’s defenders. In part he said: “Although we have raised this flag but a little more than 100 feet here, it is floating high enough to be seen around the world. I have fancied that its folds inspire not alone the gallant thousands who have salutes it, but that also, with tear-rimmed eyes and with maimed and broken bodies, dauntless heroes of France, shattered legions in the Alps, and all the world gazing upon the flag today with the hope that is this nations strength is destined to make the world safe for democracy.”