New York Firemen Give Their Day Off to the Liberty Loan Campaign
Five aerial trucks started out at nine o’clock, on April 29, from fire headquarters, New York City, where they had assembled, and as the big apparatus separated and moved off in different directions, someone in the crowd called to Deputy Chief Joseph Crawley, who was riding on one of the trucks: “What fire are you going to, Chief?” The Chief’s face was grave as he called back: “We are going to the biggest fire in the world, my friend, the fire ‘over there.’ And the firemen alone can’t check this fire. We’re going to need every person in the United States.” It was Firemen’s Day, in the Liberty Loan campaign, and at the end of the day the New York Fire Department had over a million dollars in subscriptions. to its credit. The trucks and their crews covered every district in Manhattan from the Battery to the Harlem River, where there were enough people gathered to render the chances of collecting a single bond from them. The firemen who accompanied the trucks gave up their day off to do so, for the safety of the city required that the men be not taken from their stations even for the Liberty Loan. At each point where a truck halted, the crowd cheered it and awaited developments. In a few minutes the firemen riding on the truck had disappeared in the crowd, all except a man with a megaphone and several men who began to slowly send the towering ladder toward the sky. A second or two of stillness, and then the crowd cheered again. On the ladder were signs, $500, $1,000, and so on, and at the top was the mark $5,000. A fireman stood at the foot. Then, rung by rung, he began to ascend, as the subscriptions poured in, each rung representing a $50 bond, and the crowd went wild. When the top was reached, the fireman suddenly pulled out a flag and waved it, while the band in an accompanying chief’s car burst into a patriotic air. Then the operation was repeated. At many points speeches were made by chiefs and others prominent in the fire department, which woke the crowds assembled to great enthusiasm and increased the sales of the bonds.