Mail Tribune 100, Feb. 19, 1919
The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.
Feb. 19, 1919
MEDFORD JOINS IN WELCOME TO BOYS OF THE 65TH
Medford was conspicuously on the Portland and Oregon map Monday during the welcoming celebration in honor of the 65th artillery with 25 of her stalwart sops of that famous command marching with the organization in the parade, her mayor marching at the head of the parade with Colonel Kerfoot, commander of the 65th, and Mayor Baker of Portland, and with Mrs. Gates riding incognito at the extreme head of the procession with the chief of police of the state metropolis.
“It was a magnificent homecoming to the state for the Oregon boys of the 65th,” said Mayor C. E. Gates who with Mrs. Gates arrived home from Portland this morning. “There are only 25 of the Medford and Jackson county boys of the 33 who went originally to France with the 65th with that command now, the others having been either sent to their homes elsewhere from Camp Dix, or having been transferred during the war into other organizations. Our boys are all well, fat and happy at the prospects of soon getting home.
“As near as I can learn it will be two weeks yet before the 65th is demobilized at Camp Lewis and the boys can come home.
“They are brimming over with their wonderful experiences in France and with the big receptions and honors the 65th has encountered since arriving in this country. It was difficult at Portland to draw from their talk on their war experiences, as there was so much going on in connection with the celebration. I talked briefly with all the boys. We probably can’t get much out of them about their part in the war until they have arrived home and settled down again to humdrum civil life.
“I shall never forget that wonderful scene when the regiment arrived in the Portland depot and relatives from all over Oregon clasped their loved ones. It would wring tears from the eyes of the most hardened to see those mothers and soldier sons clinch and kiss and hang on. It was a sight, too, to see the boys and their girls meet. Such kissing and hugging in public, and oblivious to the crowd of thousands. It was worth going miles to see.
“Two of the 65th soldiers were without relatives and friends and felt rather desolate and overcome with the sight of the many loving reunions. Finally one of them said to his comrade in unfortunate environment: ‘Well, old sweetheart, we’ll have to love each other.’ And then they went to it with kisses and hugs.”
Mayor and Mrs. Gates had the surprise of their lives not only to see their son, Sergeant George Gates, with a heavy French mustache, but also wearing a military cap or hat of French invention. Several months ago he wrote to them that he was growing a mustache and declared he would bring it home with him. He kept the pledge, but now that he has made good so far he will probably have the hirsute appendage shaved off at Camp Lewis, as it is figured that he would never have the nerve to show up in Medford wearing such a thing.
A number of the other Medford boys of the 65th also had similar mustaches which they intended to spring at home, but losing their nerve, they had them shaved off at Camp Dix.