Spectators lined Main Street on Saturday morning and watched the Homecoming Parade to welcome home 1,800 World War II servicemen and women. Not since 1919, did the city and Cross Creek District experience a historic occasion of equal joy and splendor. Current mayor George Hubbs and Charles Berry, who was mayor of Follansbee at the close of the first war in 1919, were the honorary parade marshalls.
Plans for the Homecoming began a year earlier in September 1945. “Seventy-five representatives from 26 organizations attended the planning sessions.” Mayor George Hubbs presided over the various task groups. “The following officers were elected to serve as task masters: Gorge Hubbs, general chairman; Mayor Samuel Wright of Holiday Cove, co-chairman; Maurice T. Bunlope, treasure; F.H. Barnhart, secretary; executive board, Lloyd D. Keller, Porter Martin, Herbert Traubert, Mrs. Frank Basil, and Raymond Grace. “
“The day-long homecoming celebration started in the morning with an extensive parade that took half an hour to pass in review before Brig. Gen. Robert W. Grow of Fort Knox, KY. The procession included over 400 soldiers, sailors and Marines of World War II and 100 of the First World War. Nine colorful floats, six musical corps, eight fire units and numerous marching delegations comprised the parade, which proceeded over a one mile rout before a crowed estimated by police at over 8,040.”
The guest speakers program was given in the municipal park. The keynote speaker Gen. Grove declared that America emerged triumphant because “the American soldiers are the greatest fighters in the world and because these factories and mills along the river were turning out the finest tools of war that the world has ever seen.” Gen. Grow singled out Sgt. Louis Basel as typical of the soldiers sent out of the Cross Creek District into the world battlefields.
In praise, Gen. Grow said that Sgt. Basel was manning the radio of an armored car while entering the French town of Autun and met a similar car driven by a French soldier. It was Louis who first communicated by radio with the French Army of Gen. Devers that landed near Marseille and came up from the south, and the Army of Gen. Eisenhower that fought to achieve a landing on the Normandy beach.
Bands that marched were from Wintersville, Follansbee and Wellsburg High Schools. The Steubenville Navy Bells, Mingo Fireman’s corps and 50-piece Duke drum corps of Pittsburgh also participated. Fire departments represented were from Stratton, Holidays Cove, Weirton, Wellsburg, Mingo, Follansbee, Beach Bottom and Hooverson Heights. Marching units included the Legion, Spanish American War veterans, Garibaldi society, Boy Scouts, Louise community, Follansbee Foreman’s club, Toronto Foreman’s club, Sheet Metal Specialty, Four-H members, and Eagles. Over 50 horses from the district also were in Line.
“The floats expressed the Welcome Home Theme. The Follansbee Steel entry depicted a cottage with a father greeting his returned son. The Sheet Metal Specialty float featured a tranquil garden scene with running water from a fountain. Miss liberty and Uncle Sam were the themes of the Boy Scout float. The American Legion, Grange, Louise women, and Lions Club sponsored other floats.
*Follansbee Review, “Second Homecoming Plan.”Aug. 22, 1945, p.1.
*Steubenville Herald Star, “Record Parade Staged..” Aug. 19, 1946. p.1.