Monday, July 22, 2013

Jul 22 (1916) Market St. Bombing, San Francisco: "The blare of fifty bands drowned the cries of the injured"

Preparedness Parade, San Francisco, 1916, courtesy of Shaping San Francisco

With the Boston bombings fresh in my memory, it shocked me to learn that a surprisingly similar bombing occurred on Market St. in San Francisco on this day in 1916.

At 2:06 PM, a suitcase filled with explosives--including a pipe filled with metal slugs designed to act as shrapnel--exploded on a crowd of parade-goers.

The Preparedness Parade was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, and was part of a nationwide campaign supposed to inspire patriotic feeling as the country entered the European conflict (aka World War I).

The day before the event, San Francisco newspapers had received a warning from "The Determined Exiles from Militaristic Government." The warning called business owners cowards for sponsoring a parade that encouraged a war they would never have to fight.

The powerful blast killed ten people and injured forty, but according to the New York Tribune, did not stop the parade.

"Though the bomb blew a big gap in the crowd, turning the throng of men, women, and children into shambles, the parade continued. The blare of fifty bands drowned the cries of the injured and the bodies that strewed the pavement and sidewalk were quickly carried away."

Image is from Shaping San Francisco and

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Flannery O'Connor

You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.