Chicago's Nurse Parade by By
Chicago singularly honored nurses, our "Angels of Mercy," for a decade (1949–1958). Father Clarence M. Brissette O.S.M., director of the Sorrowful Mother Novena, originated both Chicago's "Nurses Day" and Chicago's Nurse Parade in 1949. The purpose of the parade was twofold: to give the nurses a "day of glory" and to also encourage others to join this undermanned, noble, and caring profession. The first Chicago Nurse Parade (1949) had two floats, four bands, and included many nurses marching in capes. The 10-year anniversary parade (1958) had 4,000 marching uniformed nurses, over 30 bands, and over 100 decorated floats representing nearly all Chicagoland hospitals and schools of nursing. In 1958, over 100,000 spectators lined Jackson Boulevard to honor nurses in what would be the final parade.