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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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100 years ago: ‘Mission of mercy’ takes to the streets

Decked out in white, Spokane women take to the streets for war effort. (Spokesman-Review archives)
Decked out in white, Spokane women take to the streets for war effort. (Spokesman-Review archives)

Nearly 10,000 women – dressed in the white uniforms of the Red Cross – staged a grand parade through Spokane.

“A long white line flowed graceful waves through Spokane’s streets on a mission of mercy,” said The Spokesman-Review.

The parade was planned by the city’s women as the opening event of a drive to raise $100,000 in war relief work.

It included 13 floats and eight bands and drum corps. The Red Cross activities of “bandages, knitting and nursing were emphasized to an extreme degree.” The parade was so long that it took an hour and 25 minutes to pass a given point.

“Few parades have been so enthusiastically cheered in Spokane,” said the paper.

The paper ran an editorial headlined “The Women’s Triumph.”

“Much of the time, the Red Cross women must, in the nature of things, work in the background while public attention is centered on the fighting men,” said the editorial. “But yesterday, given the center of the stage, the women demonstrated so stirringly their organizing and working powers that their record is likely to stand for a long time to come.”

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