Thursday, December 27, 2018

Woodrow Wilson's Visit to England

Although the Armistice of World War I ended the fighting, the peace treaty still needed to be negotiated and signed. President Woodrow Wilson had earlier outlined his ideas in his Fourteen Points speech.  Hoping to include as many of these ideas as possible in the treaty, Wilson decided to represent the United States himself instead of sending an envoy.

After an enthusiastic send-off similar to this Columbus Day parade in New York, he boarded the George Washington at the docks in Hoboken, New Jersey on December 4.
Wilson in Columbus Day parade
Wilson in Columbus Day parade
After landing in Brest, France on December 13, he was greeted by throngs of cheering people. He then traveled to England.

An account of that time by Corvallis resident Don Beery, a corporal in the 162nd Infantry, is included in the Benton County Historical Museum's archives.  Beery wrote:

“December 28- I am on guard duty at Buckingham Palace, London, for President Wilson during his visit with the King of England.  This was an historical event.  It was the first time a President of the United States had visited a foreign country while in office.  We felt highly honored to be chosen for this occasion.”

December 28 was also President Wilson's 66th birthday. Imagine celebrating your birthday in Buckingham Palace with the King of England!

By Martha Fraundorf, Volunteer for Benton County Historical Society, Philomath, Oregon

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