Guide The Mighty Fallen: American War Memorials

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Thank you, Steven. And Jay Trimmer. Thank you, Jay. I hope I look like that someday. You look great.

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America is forever in debt, and we are forever in your debt. And we really appreciate you being here. Matthew is in the eighth grade, and he worked and saved all of his money for two years to make this trip to France. He wanted to be here in person to honor the American heroes of World War I. Matthew, thank you. You make us very proud. Where is Matthew? On this day, in the year , church bells rang, families embraced, and celebrations, as you know, filled the streets like never before, in towns throughout Europe and the United States.

But victory had come at a terrible cost. Millions more were wounded. Countless would come home bearing the lasting scars of trench warfare and the grisly horrors of chemical weapons. During the final battle of the war, over 26, Americans lost their lives and more than 95, were wounded. It was the single deadliest battle in United States history. Thank of that — 26, Americans lost their lives in a battle. Here on the revered grounds of Suresnes American Cemetery lie more than 1, U.

Among those buried here are legendary Marines who fought in the Battle of Belleau Wood. In that treacherous forest and the surrounding fields, American Marines, soldiers, and Allied Forces fought — and they fought through hell — to turn the tide of the war. Earlier this year, President Macron presented an oak sapling from Belleau Wood as a gift to our nation — an enduring reminder of our friendship sealed in battle.

We fought well together. You could not fight better than we fought together. Months later, Eugene was mortally wounded. He passed away one day after Christmas. His mother would come right here to mourn by the grave of her precious son.

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She loved him so much. She was one of the thousands of American moms and dads whose beloved children found their final resting place on the hillside of Suresnes. Each of these marble crosses and Stars of David marks the life of an American warrior — great, great warriors they are — who gave everything for family, country, God, and freedom. Through rain, hail, snow, mud, poisonous gas, bullets and mortar, they held the line, and pushed onward to victory — it was a great, great victory; costly victory but a great victory — never knowing if they would ever again see their families or ever again hold their loved ones.

It will seem like heaven to me to be once more where there is peace and only peace. On November 11th, , Paul died in the final hours of battle, just before the end. No, sadly, he did not make it. He was among the countless young men who never returned home. But through their sacrifice, they ascended to peace in heaven. Rest in peace, Paul. The American and French patriots of World War I embody the timeless virtues of our two republics: honor and courage; strength and valor; love and loyalty; grace and glory.

It is our duty to preserve the civilization they defended and to protect the peace they so nobly gave their lives to secure one century ago.

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The Commission has done such an incredible job. And, General, we very much appreciate it. We see memorials in the form of crosses along the highway signifying where a loved one was killed in a traffic accident. Memorial monuments are set up in nearly every city to commemorate war heroes or great citizens of that town. Building, bridges, highways, colleges and universities, hospitals, airports are named after people to help us remember them. Every memorial has a message. A memorial is a commemoration to recollect, rehearse, and remember.

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World War II produced many heroes. He was a fighter pilot assigned to the aircraft carrier Lexington in the South Pacific. One day his entire squadron was sent on a mission. After he was airborne, he looked at his fuel gauge and realized that someone had forgotten to top off his fuel tank. He would not have enough fuel to complete his mission and get back to his ship.

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His flight leader told him to return to the carrier. Reluctantly, he dropped out of formation and headed back to the fleet. As he was returning to the mother ship he saw something that turned his blood cold. A squadron of Japanese aircraft were speeding their way toward the American fleet. The American fighters were gone on a sortie, and the fleet was defenseless. Nor could he warn the fleet of the approaching danger.

There was only one thing to do. He must somehow divert them from the fleet. Laying aside all thoughts of personal safety, he dove into the formation of Japanese planes. Butch wove in and out of the now broken formation and fired at as many planes as possible until all his ammunition was finally spent. Undaunted, he continued the assault.

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He dove at the planes, trying to clip a wing or tail in hopes of damaging as many enemy planes as possible and rendering them unfit to fly. Finally, the exasperated Japanese squadron took off in another direction.

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Upon arrival he reported in and related the event surrounding his return. The film from the gun-camera mounted on his plane told the tale. He had in fact destroyed five enemy aircraft.

A year later Butch was killed in aerial combat at the age of