Printed flag on cotton, 6.75 x 10.25 in. Inscription: "Rainbow Devision (sic) B’ham. Ala. May 10, 1919 Back From France Thelma L. Chambers." Ca 1919.
In preparation for sending American troops to France to take part in World War I, the 42nd Division, known as the Rainbow Division, was formed exclusively from National Guard units drawn from various locations throughout the United States. Colonel Douglas MacArthur colorfully described the unit as having the structure of a rainbow, covering the country from one end of the sky to the other, and from his comment, the name designation became permanently attached. Among the ranks were men from 26 states, including the Alabama National Guard 167th Infantry Regiment. The Rainbow Division trained at Camp Mills, NY, before deployment to France in 1917. It engaged in combat at Champagne, the Marne, the St. Mihiel Offensive, and Meuse-Argonne Campaign, and served as an occupying force following the armistice.
On May 9, 1919, the Alabama guardsmen returned home, and for the next four days traveled by train throughout the state where they were greeted by large crowds and parades in Huntsville, Gadsden, Decatur, and Mobile. This flag, likely waved by a wife or sweetheart, commemorates the celebration parade in Birmingham on May 10.
Provenance:J. Richard Pierce Collection of American Parade Flags
Toning, staining to flag. Some small, scattered holes, largest to the right of the canton. Some fraying along edges. Professionally mounted using stitch on board.
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