WWI Victory Parade

Parade of marching soldiers surrounded by spectators on city streets lined with tall buildings.

Photo by Leslie R. Jones / Courtesy of the @bplboston Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection, 08_06_32064

Everybody loves a parade! On April 25, 1919, Boston welcomed the soldiers of the 26th (Yankee) Division back from a year of hard fighting on the front in France. It was the largest military parade in Boston’s history, with 20,000 soldiers marching or being driven in convertibles if they were wounded, and over a million people lining the streets on a rainy day.

One newspaper printed a special program including songs “to be sung by everybody,” that included the words and music to “America,” (First sung in the Park Street Church, Boston, they noted), “Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag,” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again,” among many other popular songs of the day.

Boston would not see another parade as large for 84 years, until the Red Sox victory parade in 2004.

This photograph was taken as the parade came down Tremont Street by Boston Herald photographer Leslie R. Jones, and really captures both the size of the parade and the number of spectators lining the sidewalks.

Part of a series of articles titled Citizen Soldiers.

Salem Maritime National Historic Site

Last updated: June 28, 2022