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From the Archives: 1918 prayer and songs for our troops

From the Archives: 1918 prayer and songs for our troops
July 15, 1918: Los Angeles County officials and employees gather on the steps of the county courthouse for a minute of prayer followed by songs in support of American troops in Europe during World War I. (Los Angeles Times)

In the summer of 1918, Los Angeles County employees began a series of programs to encourage support of American troops fighting in Europe. One such program occurred during lunch.

This photo accompanied a story in the July 16, 1918, Los Angeles Times that reported:

The first open-air minute of prayer, under auspices of the Los Angeles County Employees' Patriotic League, of which Judge John M. York is president, was held on the steps of the Courthouse at noon yesterday. A few minutes before 12 o'clock, many of the the courts and various departments ceased work, the employees and court attaches proceeding to the portals of the stately building. The gathering numbered about 500. ...

After the prayer, the Star Spangled Banner was sung, not the finished singing of paid vocalists, but the earnest sympathetic effort of the men and women whose fervent prayer had left its impress on their minds. ...

It brought men and women passing along the sidewalk to a sudden halt. As the significance of the music struck home, men uncovered their heads and women bowed in prayer. Lawyers hurrying into the Hall of Records paused and then softly walked to the Courthouse, joining in the the grand chorus of the song ….

The courthouse, once located at Temple Street and Broadway, was damaged in the 1933 Long Beach earthquake and subsequently demolished.

This post was originally published on July 2, 2014.

See more from the Los Angeles Times archives here

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