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Rabbi Rebukes Klan Intruders at War Heros’ Monument

November 30, 1923
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Isaac Landman, Rabbi in Far Rockaway, delivered an impassioned denunciation of the Ku Klux Klan who intruded into the ceremony at Cedarhurst. L.I. where a monument was dedicated to nine youths who made the supreme sacrifice in the World War. There was intermittent scrimmages as members of the American Legion tried to keep a Klan wreath away from the monument and members of the hooded order tried to force it there.

Colonel Cornelius Wickersham, head of the local Legion Post and son of George W. Wickersham; C.C. Adams and A. Adelburg and others prominent in the community, including many members of the Reckaway Hunt Club, tried hard to pacify the contenders. They had been first set at odds when a Gold Star mother whose son also was to be honored demanded that the Klan wreath be removed because her son had not died for the tenets of its faith.

The local policemen tried to quell the cutbreak by persuasion, but the fight was growing hotter when Colonel Wickersham climbed on the granite base of the monument and using that as a platform begged that both sides desist and suggested that as a compromise the wreath be deposited with him until the exercises were over.

Some one passed the tattered symbol to him and the Colonel descending leaned it against his leg and started the ceremonies; After that things proceeded quietly until it came Rabbi Landman’s turn to make the last speech.

Tossing his overcoat to the lawn and baring his head, Dr. Landman stood silent a second before the monument, than began:

“Fellow Americans: Never have I spoken those words with such deep emotion as at the present moment”.

The voice of a youngman named Wood suddenly burst on the assembly as he interrupted the speaker to shout: “My brother’s name is on that monument; I want that Klan wreath put back there:”

Then Dr. Landman, striding to the ropes and thrusting a finger straight at Wood, cried:

“I tell you that neither your brother nor any of those other boys whom we honor today died when American should betorn by racial hatred and religious conflict. The very whisper of an Americanism judging its citizens by the place of their origin or by their affiliations is a desecration of these honored dead and of the flag which will daily float over their monument. This should be an hour not of a divided but of a united citizenry, of dedication and consecration to the ideal these boys visioned of an America for all Americans, to serve not itself selfishly, but in the spirit of our war enthusiasm and war pledges to save the world”.

Dr. Landmann was congratulated and cheered.

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