Looking to the past
There was a threat of rain on Independence Day in July 1943. Nevertheless, a crowd of 70,000 temporarily swelled Fulton County’s population as they poured into Camp Ellis for the dedication ceremonies.
“We must train harder than ever, profiting from the battle experience of those who have gone before us. We will not lessen our efforts until our enemies have finally cried surrender, until life and liberty given us by God is secured for all the world,” Maj. Gen. Russell L. Maxwell told the crowd.
“All through history men have had to fight to keep their liberty,” he said. “We who wear the uniform of the United States Army do so because we are willing to fight to the last to preserve our freedom. You, too, on the farms, in the factories and mines are toiling long hours to make the idea of America the arsenal of democracy, in fact, all of us have dedicated ourselves to unceasing effort...”
Joining Maxwell on the dais was Illinois Gov. Dwight Green, who asserted: “American boys trained here at Camp Ellis will play a heroic part in the defense of liberty and the offense against tyranny.”