6 House of Truth

EIGHT O'CLOCK in the evening, September 27, 1918. A brief interval between shows at a local movie house in Portland, Maine. As the house lights came on, Virgil Williams, a local bank manager known to many in the audience, rose determinedly from his aisle seat and strode toward the front of the theater. Then, in a voice that resonated beyond the last row of the auditorium, he began to address the 150 of his neighbors who had gathered that night to take in a couple of movies.

His words were fired by the Great War in Europe, a war that, for the past year and a half, had embroiled the lives of American servicemen. "While we sit here tonight, enjoying a picture show," he began deliberately, "are you aware that thousands and thousands of people in Europe--people not unlike ourselves--are languishing in slavery under Prussian masters?" Assuming an inflection of gravity, Williams continued.

If we are not vigilant, their fate could be ours. Now, then, do you folks here in Portland want to take the slightest chance of meeting Prussianism here in America?

If not, then you'll have to participate in summoning all the resources of this country for the giant struggle. In addition to buying Thrift Stamps, and War-Savings-Stamps to support our boys overseas, we must also hold fast the lines here at home.

To do this, we must remain alert. We must listen carefully to the questions that our neighbors are asking, and we must ask ourselves whether these questions could be subverting the security of our young men in uniform.

-102-

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