Reception for a Native Son
On this date in 1922, the Ward County Independent reported on an enthusiastic reception for Minot native son Captain Howard Huston. More than 1,500 people gathered in the high school auditorium to greet him on his return from Switzerland. Dr. F.J. Brugman, the commander of the local American Legion Post, was chairman for the event, and Governor Ragnvald Nestos was in attendance.
Captain Huston graduated from Minot High School in 1911. He enlisted in the Army and served in France during World War I. Huston was ordered to the rear when he was wounded, but he refused to leave his command. In the confusion came a report that he had been killed in action. Newspapers printed accounts of his death. The city of Minot made preparations for a memorial service, but before the service took place, news arrived that Huston was still alive. After his recovery, he returned to his command. Following the Armistice, he served as aide to General Booth in the Army of Occupation in Germany.
World War I was so horrific that many countries were determined to find a way to avoid future wars. The League of Nations was established in 1920 and headquartered in Switzerland. Captain Huston was selected as the executive secretary. Minot was thrilled to welcome him home for a visit.
The guest of honor spoke to the gathering, taking the opportunity to extoll the virtues of the League of Nations. He asserted that the League had already averted three wars. He stated that “The men who are laboring in the league are putting their hearts and souls into the work because they believe the league is an association that is necessary to the world.” He stressed that the United States needed Europe, and was the only country that could help Europe resolve problems left over from the war. With fifty-one countries already members of the League, it was significant to Huston that the United States had not yet joined.
The Republicans were reluctant to join the League. They feared the League would be an expensive organization, and that membership would reduce America’s ability to defend itself. Reluctant to become entangled in European politics, the United States never did join.
Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher.
Ward County Independent. “Sec. Huston Asks U.S. to Join League of Nations.” Minot, North Dakota. 20 April, 1922.
Office of the Historian. “The League of Nations, 1920.” "https://history.state.gov/milestones/1914-1920/league" https://history.state.gov/milestones/1914-1920/league Accessed 17 March, 2017.