Saturday, June 24, 2017

April 26, 1951, General McArthur Day in Chicago, Illinois.

General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur, visits Chicago after his return from Korea in 1951. On April 26, 1951, 15 days after he was relieved as military commander in Korea by President Truman, he visited Chicago on his triumphal tour of the nation.
Chicago welcomes General MacArthur with a parade, State Street, April 26, 1951.
The city afforded "The Old Soldier" the greatest and most spontaneous welcome in its history. The Tribune reported: "Chicagoans never saw the equal of the welcome given Gen. Douglas MacArthur yesterday... The acclaim of the throngs was deafening." Police estimated that more than 3 million persons jammed the official parade route on State Street and Michigan Avenue in the downtown area. Hundreds of thousands more lined the motorcade route from Midway airport to the Loop. Crowds overwhelmed police ranks and surged into State street, cutting off the first 12 cars of the motorcade, as they cheered MacArthur.

Gov. Adlai Stevenson, Mayor Martin Kennelly, and Gen. Robert E. Wood, chairman of the welcoming committee, had greeted the general as he stepped from his four engine Constellation aircraft, the "Bataan," at Midway airport. A 17 gun salute by a field artillery battalion followed, and the motorcade from the airport to the Loop began.

One of the loudest receptions along the parade route occurred where railroads cross over 55th street. Locomotives which had been stationed there blew their whistles as Gen. MacArthur passed.

That night as 50,000 people assembled in Soldier Field in 40 degree temperatures, the hero of the Pacific made a fighting defense of his stand on the Korean war as he challenged the policies of President Truman and called for "a positive and realistic policy for Korea... one designed to bring the war to an early and honorable end." A fireworks display was presented at 8:50pm.

The next day, thousands of persons lined the north shore as he drove to Milwaukee to be honored.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

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