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Wednesday, April 24, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: Civil War veteran backs draft for World War I

“The young men of today owe as much of a duty to their flag to enlist as did the young men of the 1860s.”

Those were the words of J.E. Stewart, the post department commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, which was the Civil War Union veterans’ organization.

“That was a war to save the United States as a whole,” said Stewart. “This is a war to save the honor of the United States.”

Stewart weighed in on one of the crucial questions facing the country’s military as it entered the Great War in Europe: whether to institute a draft.

“I am in favor of a draft, because it takes the men who want someone else to do their fighting for them,” said Stewart, who enlisted in 1862 at age 18. “I believe the government should accept the young men who are willing to go, however, and are not taken in the draft.”

From the music beat: An ad for the Victor Talking Machine Company, also known as Victrola, listed the new records coming out in May.

It included a “superbly played” version of “Poor Butterfly” by Fritz Kreisler, and Haydn’s Emperor Quartet performed by the Elman String Quartet.

However, this was probably what caught the eye of fans of a new musical style: “Dixieland ‘Jass’ Band, playing whirlwind dance numbers.”

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