The Memoirs of William Jennings Bryan

By Mary Baird Bryan; William Jennings Bryan | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
THE NEXT FIVE YEARS

From my Diary, July 15,1915.

A GREAT event was the Independence Day celebration at the San Francisco Exposition on the morning of the 5th of July, 1915. A stand had been erected in a large space--I believe it was in front of the "Court of Honor." We arrived early, but even then many thousand people were already waiting. A guard told me many had been there two hours. A roadway was roped off for the passage of the parade. This consisted largely of troops and crews from two battleships. The parade was reviewed by Hon. C. M. Moore, the President of the Exposition, by Will and two or three other "distinguished visitors." There was a pause in the procession, the people broke through the ropes, and I understand a goodly part of the parade failed to arrive. They could not get through the crowd. Mrs. Moore (mother of the President of the Exposition) and I left the automobile and went to the platform, where we could both see and hear.

I never before saw such a throng and never expect to see such a one again. The gate boxes showed 120,000 people inside the grounds when Will began to speak, and it is estimated that 100,000 of them were gathered about the speaker's stand. On all sides they stood. It was one of those days which seem typical of San Francisco. The sun blazed out with great heat, as Will's poor head bore witness--his scalp was burned quite red--as he stood with bared head while he spoke. This bright sun gave place at frequent intervals to light showers, or as the San Franciscans call it, "a fog." They will not admit that it rains. I was reminded of the "Scotch mist" which makes one very wet and has clearly defined drops, but to a Scotchman is not a

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