WHEN THE SERBIAN FLAG WAS FLAGING AT THE WHITE HOUSE
In addition to great losses for the whole world, the First World War gave birth to a strong alliance and great solidarity between the United States and one small country in the Balkans. In the overall relations between Serbia and the United States, since the beginning of the Great War, one day will remain especially marked in the history of relations between these two countries.
It was July 28, 1918. It was then that the United States marked four years since the beginning of the Great War, and when the Serbian flag was flown for the first time at the White House, as a sign of respect for the heroic fight and respect for numerous Serbian victims.
Alliance in action
As early as the beginning of 1915, the American medical mission against the typhus epidemic was engaged on the territory of Serbia. After the withdrawal of the Serbian army through Albania, the American Red Cross was especially committed to helping the population in occupied Serbia.
American citizens did not hide their sympathy and support for the Serbian people, although the United States was neutral until 1917. From 1914 to 1916, huge amounts of money and thousands of tons of humanitarian aid arrived to Serbian citizens from the United States.
In that period, there are really many examples of solidarity of American citizens to Serbia, from US President Theodore Roosevelt, who was the first to point out that Serbia was the first to receive an "iron blow", to nurse Agnes Gardner.
The importance and position of Serbia in the First World War was recognized by the wider American public, but also by the then president, Woodrow Wilson, as well as the Secretary of State, Robert Lansing. The United States marked July 28, 1918, as "Serbian Day."
The idea of displaying a flag
The idea of marking the "Serbian day" came from the then Serbian ambassador to the USA, Ljubomir Mihailović, as evidenced by his correspondence with another assistant state secretary, William Phillips.
Namely, on June 1, 1918, Mihailović sent this proposal in a letter to Phillips, in which he explained that "July 28 is the date when the Central Powers declared war on the civilized world", and Phillips replied five days later, saying that he was president impressed by the proposal related to July 28.
It is believed that the positive attitude of the American president towards Serbs was influenced by his acquaintance with the great scientist Mikhail Pupin, who was his personal friend, and at that time he was a world-renowned scientist who lived and worked in the USA.
Serbian flag on the White House
Impressed by the heroism of the Serbian people, the then President of the United States of America, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, declared the "Serbian Day" in Washington on July 28, 1918, on the fourth anniversary of the declaration of war on Serbia. On that occasion, the Serbian tricolor was flying at all institutions, led by the White House.
It is especially important to emphasize the great friendship of the President of the USA, Dr. Woodrow Wilson, with our scientist and Honorary Consul of Serbia in the USA, Mihajlo Pupin, whose selfless work provided a large number of volunteers and huge logistical and military assistance.
Only a month before the Serbian flag was hoisted at the White House and before the above-mentioned touching and strong messages of the President, June 28, 1918, was marked in the United States as a great Serbian holiday - Kosovo Day. The American press enthusiastically wrote about the whole series of manifestations that were organized during June 1918.
In that wave of support for Serbia and the Serbian people in the United States, Secretary of State Robert Lansing played an important role. With tragic and heroic losses with committed principles of freedom and truth, the Serbian army has confirmed its love for its country in the original way. That is why Robert Lansing stated: "One day, when the history of this war is being written, its most famous chapter will be called Serbia."
A century after the Serbian flag fluttered on the roof of the White House, on July 28, 2018, a ceremony was held in the US House of Representatives, at which the centenary of the event was marked. On the same day, the former US ambassador to Serbia, Kyle Scott, hoisted the Serbian flag at his Belgrade residence.
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