At a time when the soldiers of France and America were fighting side by side in a great cause it seems eminently appropriate that the birth of that saintly and inspiring warrior, Joan of Arc, should be celebrated as an event of appealing interest. Of all the nations that have warred in Europe and have garlanded their history with heroic deeds, it remains to be said of France and of France alone that her wars have been won, not so much by the skillful movements of her armies, but rather by a mysterious influence which takes possession of the spirits of the soldiers and of their commanders and makes them invincible. The gentle and pure-hearted Maid of Orleans led the disorganized and disheartened soldiers of France to the glorious victories which saved her country, and the same influence was evidenced in the marvellous victory of the Marne.
The celebration of the 507th anniversary of the birth of Joan of Arc took place January 6, 1919, and combined with it was the naming of the Joan of Arc Park which extends from 91st to 95th Street. The celebration was in the evening and a feature of special interest was the firing of a salute from the U. S. Cruisers Pennsylvania and Utah by direction of Hon. Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy. The Pennsylvania was anchored off 89th Street and the Utah off 95th Street. As the ceremonies began the Pennsylvania threw a ray of light northward at an angle of thirty degrees and the Utah likewise to the south, so that the two bars of light crossed over the statue of Joan of Arc. Later in the evening the rays were deflected so as to form a cross of light directly over the statue. The effect was telling and expressed very beautifully our conception of the character of Joan of Arc.
A procession marched around the Park led by Miss Lillian Barrington as Joan of Arc on her white horse and followed by the band of the Pelham Bay Naval Camp, Captain Layer, officers and men of the, French cruiser Marseillaise, Sons of the American Revolution, Order of the Founders and Patriots of America, American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, City History Club, Jeanne of Arc Home, Children of the Joan of Arc School, and Boy Scouts of America.
At the statue messages were read from Mr. J. San-ford Saltus, former Honorary President of the Joan of Arc Statue Committee, the Louisiana Historical Society, and Governor Alfred E. Smith. Dr. George F. Kunz, President of the Joan of Arc Statue Committee, made the address of welcome and was followed by other speakers, among whom were Mr. Henry L. Hobart of the Church Club, Capt. Loyer of the Marseillaise, Mr. Henry Snyder Kissam of the Founders and Patriots of America, Dr. Edward Hagaman Hall of the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society, and Miss Charlton, principal of Joan of Arc Public School.