19 July 2008

Celebrate 19 July

July 19, 1919, was Peace Day in the United Kingdom, a day of celebration marking the end of the Great War with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles some weeks earlier. On Peace Day, disgruntled war veterans in the town of Luton began rioting during the reading of a proclamation by the king (a proclamation that made no remarks at all about what the government was going to actually do for the soldiers, many of whom were unemployed, penniless, and in need of medical care), burning down the town hall and forcing the mayor to flee town for good. The riots continued until very late in the day with many stores in the high street area being broken into. In addition to stealing ale and wenches as would be expected, rioters broke into a music shop and dragged pianos into the street so that they could play music and dance. It was Peace Day, after all, and there's no reason a little rioting should ever get in the way of a good party.

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