tv Aisne- Marne American Cemetery World War I Memorial Ceremony CSPAN August 17, 2018 8:03pm-9:48pm EDT
there because -- accepted me as an equal in many accepted me as their superior. that allowed me to know that i can negotiate with the best of them.in the weeks ahead, we will hear from helen bentley, arbor canelo, nancy johnson, and liz woolsey. watch oral history, sunday at 10 am eastern. on american history tv on c- span three. the u.s. entered world war i in april 1917 but it was a year later when american army soldiers and marines saw the first major combat on the western front. you're the town of chateau- thierry at elle woods. or than 10,000 american gis were wounded or went missing. next a memorial ceremony marking the centennial of the american cemetery in france where many are buried.
[ speaking french ] we would first like to welcome the following family members. present with us here today. the good that, in honor of private franca that. mr. stephen gerard in honor of caldwell c robinson. captain wallace, in honor of private lester mullins. there are others present here today. and thank you all for coming. [ speaking french ] mr. stephen gerard. [ speaking french ]
>> good morning. what a wonderful beautiful day in this french countryside. in this beautiful american cemetery. ladies and gentlemen, from the french parliament and senate, the regional and departmental councils, madame mayor,, and that miller and distinguished guests and ladies and gentlemen. on behalf of the american people and president trump, good morning and welcome to the aisne-marne memorial day and world war i commemoration. the american battle monuments commission was established in 1923 by congress. that was established to commemorate and memorialize the
service and the achievements and the sacrifice of u.s. armed forces. today we commemorate memorial day in 26 of our american military cemeteries located in 10 countries across four continents. i am honored to be here with you at this cemetery to pay tribute to the sacrifice these americans made in the cause of freedom. such as the men and women who lie here that they received each for their own memory, praise that will never die and with that the grandest of all tributes. an everlasting home in the minds of their countrymen and the thanks of generations yet unborn. we are gathered here today 100 years later on the very same ground that american forces under the command of general john blackjack purging made forever hallowed with their struggle, their blood and their sacrifice.
today we also honor the brave french soldiers who fought valiantly and who had already endured the trials of four years of strife. and the fellow inframon -- and freeman and thank you for being here. we are also honored that so many of our french friends and neighbors have joined us as we do each year for this memorial day commemoration. france is america's oldest ally and an honor to stand beside you as an ally and a friend. we also recognize the valor that was demonstrated on both sides of the line as trade german soldiers struggled here too. today germany is a stout ally and a friend to america. so we welcome general jacobson and his german troops. the cemetery and the battlefield behind me, honor those who fell in the aisne-
marne campaign. then united states army visited and fought alongside the six, ninth and 10th armies. the first major offensive campaign of the work. shoulder to shoulder buried here with more than 2600 soldiers and nearly 500 marines. who died during that campaign with the common goal of making the world safe for democracy and bringing a final piece to europe. today the guns are silent. on this now deathless field. the men and women at rest here are part of a larger -- largely forgotten generation of americans. they came of age in a distant time when lives were spent profusely of idealism and seemed quite. they dreadfully witness the
rise of fascism and [null]-ism and opened in america century. they presided over the inauguration of a violent age that they could never comprehend. they were 18, 19, 20 years old. so today, we must remember them. they shaped the modern world, with all of its current virtue, our world and generations are yet to see their legacy. the character of the country can be determined by the way it takes care of its war dead and also a very measure of his heart and soul. to you who sleep here silently, we give our promise, we will never forget and we will remember you today is when you are reverently and lovingly placed in this hallowed ground.
because of freedom and liberty for which you traveled across the ocean, so far from your homes rings true today. our nations and our armed services must bind together in service of other freedom loving nations. whenever democracy is threatened. today in lands cup free by the sacrifice of men and women dedicated to that freedom we come to honor their service and their heroism. in words of general pershing, time will not dim the glory of their deeds. thank you. [ applause ] >> ladies and gentlemen, nadia crapart the mayor will present her welcome message. [ speaking french ] [ speaking
french ] ladies and gentlemen and members of parliament and the senate. the representative of the president of the regional council, president of the departmental counsel, generals and admirals, commissioners, ladies and gentlemen, members of the regional council and the departmental counsel. veterans and their guests, ladies and gentlemen. the day ceremony is the centennial year will have a historical dimension. a symbol that assembled in this way, they the natural serenity, we will live through moments of intense emotion that will forever be enshrined in our
hearts and in our minds. 100 years ago, on this land, our soldiers have all -- of all nations were fighting each other . they were brothers, husbands or fathers. they were young, they were men. they were in the flower of youth and were thrown into the most extreme of inhumanity. the hell of war will impact them and they will barely be able to speak about it. and yet, 100 years later, we will not forget. throughout the years, generation after generation, our nations have worked to honor their memory, they
maintain their memories and doing this, they manage to find their way to peace. so we can say that their sacrifice which still troubles us is not in vain. let us pursue our commemoration again and again so that our humanity never stops its progress. welcome to the low and have an unforgettable memorial day. [ applause ] >> now we will hear four separate readings about men who were here on the battlefield 100 years ago. the stories are representative of the thousands of young men who fought and lost their lives in this area. made they never be forgotten. [ speaking french ]
>> versus the reading of a french soldier, paul reacher made read by major balance of the 152nd infantry. [ speaking french ] >> [ speaking french ] awarded to french military metal in this badge. paul reacher made was studied to be a priest and reserved -- served in the infantry. he was in a first aid station
for the first duration of the war. he wrote down everything he saw, felt and understood every day very simply. listen to this man telling of the difficult days in belleau wood. >> friday, may 31, we got up early. it is a wonderful day and there's still no cannon fire. as if we weren't on the front lines. 10:00. soldiers from all units are falling back, we asked them have you been released? one of them answered yes, by the germans. indeed in the distance, you can see the iron red uniforms. then we see the gunshots. the battle is raging. the machine guns chapter, we have wounded, lieutenants are lost. killed with the fifth company. both lungs are pierced by a bullet. we give him injections without much hope of saving him.
sunday, june 2. we are awoken early by the coldness of the morning, the sky is cloudless. it looks like it will be a hot day. german plane start flying over us. on the road to -- poor woman is fleeing with her husband and a goat. we have received orders to stop falling back and to hold her position at any cost. 6:00 in the evening. i have gone back to the embankment. a barrage began on the line with mortar fire and shelling. our road is the target. shells pass over us and exploded just a few yards from us. 7:00 in the evening. the attack begins. shelling gets more intense. the germans cream out. 8:00. we fall back. the six company is coming for us and it is a site worth seeing.
they are walking like an free treatment as if they were on the newburgh. i follow into the woods. the woods are dense. there is undergrowth everywhere, we arrive on a plateau near -- this is where the the talon is taking position. an american regimen takes up a position in front of us at the edge of the woods. we think we are being relieved. 10:00. we leave our bags in the officers handover their horses to the orderlies. we begin to understand we won't be relieved this time. probably going to attack. monday, june 3. 6:00. we must engage the enemy. the entire battalion comes out of the woods in the direction of nadia crapart. we walked dumbly, resigned. we advance $100 at the most and then the german machine guns address with bullets. we have massive casualties.
soon all of my stretcher bearers are busy caring the wounded. midday, we are going to attack. about 100 american volunteers join us. the fifth company has an especially high number of wounded. they are startlingly hot. the sky is lit with gas shells. a group of americans are torn to pieces. later in the evening, an american company is broken up. they dig deep trenches. they watch us when the shells whistle pass. >> >> [ speaking french ]
>> i am sergeant paul zimmerman, first company 40th regiment. in two weeks i will be 25. one month from now i will die in a field hospital. i thought in other places -- today i am here in belleau wood where a wave of enemy forces is overwhelming the riflemen. they will drown one after the other. soon i will find myself and a handful of my comrades around it. how can one stay alive in front of these bullets? no, waves of grenades rain on the soldiers. know riflemen fall, on we go. we jump from rock to rock, from tree to tree. i hear a muffled cry from a
comrade. we are still trying to hang onto life. as the blood red sunsets behind the belleau wood, i hear screams between the trees. there i find the structures filled endlessly. i cannot find rest. >> sergeant first class terrence witmer. will not present the 26th division. [ speaking french ] good morning. please open your hearts for a few moments with the and reflect upon a young man who gave his life. born 5 june 1896, he hailed from
st. john's barry vermont. he was a student of the middlebury college and joined the army at the age of 20 with 29 men. he served in 102nd machine gun battalion of the 26th. his unit was one of the first to receive direct action. he wrote often to his friends and family as most men did. it was about two years ago but his family visited the cemetery and shared history with us. it is thanks to them that i make sure to share his story. as he began his early training his letter shows excitement and a sense of adventure. however, arriving in france in october 1917, it changed quickly and he discovered first- hand that france was devastated by years of work. allow me to share some entries on his letters home from -- i wish i could be with you this christmas but i guess i can't be for some time. never worried your dad, someday i will be with you.
i wish we had peace but i guess we won't have it sometime. five november, 1917. how does pop feel about my being in france? does he worry much, i hope not. please tell him and make him believe that this is not a hard life and i will never have to fight because the war will be over in the spring. lord knows whether or not i will return to the u.s. i don't want him to worry. moving forward, 22 february 1918. we go back to the trenches soon. it isn't all fun by any means, we have to take things as they come now. this is a great experience and will surely have much to tell you when i get back. much we will never share. i only wish that i could see the villagers that we have gone by, all of them, all of their beauty is in shreds. i have taken a $10,000 life insurance while in france.
it may come in handy to someone one day. one may 1918. did you read about the first great american/? it was terrible. i was there. it happened on april 20 and i only wish it was permissible to tell you about what we saw but there's much i cannot write. you folks at home do not know what war is. thank the lord that you do not. i hope that the war will be over before many of us have the chance to come across and i have seen some awful sites. we never know how long we will last. but only trust in god will get us through safely. 22 may, 1918. days before the german forces break through the french line, we expect to move to another place. our furloughs were canceled and now i guess we will have a rest in the world will end. g but if they only declared peace that i will be glad. my birthday will soon come and
i hope i'll never spend another one here. five june 1918. the day before the -- leaves the second division into belleau wood, 20 day battle with the german unit. you can't be as comfy as we were in god's country. today is my birthday. i only wish that i were home today and could go fishing. but cheer up, the war can't last forever. 18 july 1918. if we remember back when the allies began the a more offensive, he writes home, we will be on the front lines soon, no doubt you will know about this. it is in all the papers. we sleep in the woods on the ground and we are mighty glad to be at rest when we can. what a hard life it has become lately. i will not be able to write off for now, there's too much
activity going on. don't worry now, tear up, for everything will turn up okay. >> two weeks after his birthday, this was his last letter. this was the last letter he wrote as in june they went on attack around the cemetery. he was killed on 20 july 1918. in his final resting place is plot a, roe eight grade 23. thank you very much. [ applause ] lastly united states marine corps captain will present major it would see cold of the six machine gun battalion, u.s. marine corps. [ speaking french ] edward biko
was born on september 23 1879 in boston massachusetts. in 1902 he graduated from harvard university. after working for a mining company he accepted a commission the second lieutenant in the united states marine corps. by 1916 he was working at headquarters bring quarter and serving in the headquarters in dc. he became one of the leading experts on machine guns in setting up a tripod. he designed and machine card that was noticeably published in the field book about which he is quoted as saying someday my to find boys will be able to read this book and buy it. perhaps by that time the mission -- machine gun will be obsolete. better still, war may be obsolete.
until the millennium arrived, i want my boys to keep themselves in the condition to answer the country's call and i hope they will never wait to be drafted. they must remember that a good soldier must keep a clean mind and clean body. he was promoted to major in may 1917 and later that year reported to quantico. on june 10 1918, during the battle for belleau wood, he moved forward with 1st battalion six marine, crossing open ground with machine guns. marines had nearly reached the conflict when they were spotted. they began hurling grenades. two of them wounded major coal before he grabbed the third and through back and exploded in his right hand, shattering it. the fragments went through his face and his body. mortally wounding him. he died from his wounds on june 18, 1918. major coal's final resting place is here, for his heroism
[ speaking french ] let us pray. [ speaking french ] lord our god, 100 years later, we remember the soldiers who died during the belleau wood battle. and all their comrades who died during the first world war. on this ground so many -- they were far from their farms and villages, their neighborhoods and their cities. so many died during the battle, so many gave their lives for others. so many who had no idea what to
expect and how tough the fighting would be. we want to thank you for their courage and their dedication to service. even though they knew that could come anytime, they thought for justice and freedom. lord our god, preserve us from any -- reservist from all evil, hateful and resentment. grant us the same courage, the same sense of responsibility, the same loyalty. we pray for all who have such responsibilities for our political leaders, for our military leaders and grant them oh lord with a clear understanding with their
decisions. we pray for all our comrades, everywhere in the world. renew their courage and their strength. in your name, we pray, amen. please remain standing. chaplain brent w. scott chaplain of the marine corps will now say a prayer in english. [ speaking french ] >> eternal father strong, we gather on hallowed ground to remember the sacrifice that was
made in these wooded hills 100 years ago. and to remember a great war that ultimately left nations bear of an entire generation. the scriptures say that there is no greater love than this. that one lay down his life for his friend and today we pay tribute to the greatest measure of brotherly love, so freely, so willingly rendered in the sacred place. we remember our friends from france whose history has always intertwined with our own. as she fought bravely across these woods and against unbelievable odds. france loved here and it cost her greatly. we remember young men from distant america who rushed into
a gap on this bloody soil, marines, sailors, and soldiers alike who would taste the sting of death and never return to their families. they loved here. and the markers all around us remind us that it cost us greatly. finally, we pause to remember all sons, brothers and fathers of belleau wood and acknowledge the differences that your grace has made in the making of peace so that we can now count the people of germany as friends. a century ago, eternal father, this land was pierced by violence and deafening sounds of war. today there's a different sound , that of peace. bought with the deepest measure of love and for this, we are grateful. and for this, we continue to
pray. amen. >> ladies and gentlemen, [ speaking french ] traditionally teachers of the st. joseph high school asked their students to create a poem on a theme related to world war i. the theme selected for this year was 100 . the winner of the contest -- will read the poem in english and candace will read it in french. [ speaking french ]
>> 100 years ago these heroes -- they buried those -- they contemplated their weapons and their hearts. it was 100 years ago and yet the echo of explosions can still be heard in the country just like 100 cries of suffering can be heard in the cemetery. brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters, our guns are still there so that peace can be
at the 31st may, the french unit was delaying the event, especially the area below, with the action of the 152nd infantry regiment. the second u.s. division with this 27,000 men came to reinforce those men. this reinforcement called the german advance to be held back in the allied troops were already preparing the counterattack. integrated into the second division, the fourth marine brigade made up of the sixth and fifth regiments, as well as the sixth machine gun battalion, participated in the counterattack on june 6. the point force was to recapture belleau wood and the village of moorish. for three weeks, the marine brigade commanded by james hardboard, fought a fierce fight against the numerous battle hardened and well-settled enemy. against his new opponent, the
german high command was determined to immediately break its daschbach causing massive losses right from the start. the marines led by an impetuous leader had a spectacular page of their history. on june 25, 1800 that, 8000 wounded, after a dreadful fight, the last acres of land in the wood were one. the fourth brigade received an oakley cluster and palm to care.
having experience with their bodies and souls, the hell of hello, they gained mortality there. the ceremony in your presence today, their testimony as their unfailing attachment to the memory of your forefathers and elders who fought for the piece of ground here. since then, it is part of your and our historic heritage. the bonds of friendship united are three great democracies are insurance for the future. in our world, where the balance is uncertain, our countries know that the end of the story is not near yet. that we have to remain vigilant , the scope of the challenges ahead of us naturally calls for collective answers. in which each nation will take its proper place in afghanistan yesterday, in the middle east today, or still tomorrow -- our
soldiers fight and will keep fighting side-by-side to defend our values of freedom and democracy. in 2018, preserve the memory of our glorious elders who died in belleau wood, one of the other sectors of the war, i've come to quote the writer, charles who in september 14, 1918, -- blessed are those who died in the great battle, laying on the ground in front of god. blessed are those who died on the last high ground among the pomp and glory of prestigious funerals. mothers, here are your sons and their huge army. let them not be judged on their sole misery. may god place with them some of the soil that made them lose so much. and that they so much loved. [ applause ] lieutenant general
carsten jacobson and deputy chief of the german army will present his memorial address. [ speaking french ] excellencies, ladies and gentlemen. allow me to say a few words in french. we are today on a world war i battlefield, 100 years after one of his bloodiest combats. a battle that is represented a radical change in the forces of war. especially after the german offensive more than 150 days before the armistice.
if you allow me, i now switch to english. >> ladies and gentlemen, military symmetries are like an open wound. whenever you walk through the rows of graves, read the names of the fallen, marking their young lives, the tragedy of war of every war comes personal. military cemeteries and memorials are free but they also teach us a lesson. the fallen remind us the following generations are our responsibilities for peace and healing of wounds over there graves. we are reminded that those who live in the memories of their loved ones and memories far away as only those are dead who are -- this is why we are here. today is a day to remember and today not to forget. the horror of war and violence
of human suffering and loss, is immeasurable on every front. today we are assembled at one of the countless tens of the victims. belleau wood is one of the many places that stands for bravery, gallantry, heroism, cruelty and for those who perished. we know that the battle started on june 3 and ended on june 26, 1918. when the forest finally fell to the u.s. marines. the guns but often cowboys, mainly u.s. marines attacked experience and will prepare german troops. the fight that followed was tough and intensive. only too often -- after more than three weeks, the american losses amounted to about 1800. the u.s. marines -- gives us an
idea of the character of the fight. we still don't know the german losses but 1600 prisoners were taken at a very high price for a small piece of land. today 100 years after those bloody days, the fallen are no longer represented by nationality or origin. many of the fallen americans were immigrants or sons of immigrants from france, britain, and germany. today they are victims that we have come to remember. history teaches us a lesson, we need to stand together today, side-by-side, with the challenges, friendship and partnership are the caring pillars in our transatlantic alliance. it goes from state and also for the very personal relationships on the daily basis. therefore in honor and to speak
today. ladies and gentlemen, the first world war is rightfully called the great protector of the 20th century. millions came to it and those who -- the inability of the survivors find a lasting peace. the graves of those who are wrapped around us today are there to remind us of the horrors of war but call for us to do everything in our power to avoid more war and violence in the future. we bow our heads to all our forefathers. thank you for allowing me to speak. i am >> german comrades a cordial thank you for your time. we honor our dead, our grandfathers and comrades. [ applause ]
general robert b. neller, commandant of the u.s. marine corps, will now present his memorial address. >> [ speaking french ] >> it has been 100 years since this war. the chemical weapons, the many wounded and the dead. it has been 100 years since the third battalion, fifth marine battalion officer said in his report to higher headquarters, belleau wood now u.s. marine
corps, entirely. today we are performing our duty to uphold the legacy of those we honor here today. there tenacity and the fighting spirit of those who came before. few places on this earth mean as much to u.s. marines. few spots are held so tightly to our history, even today, as belleau wood. as you look across the countryside, it is hard to imagine the death and destruction and violence that occurred over a 20 day period, a century ago. more than 2000 marines and u.s. soldiers died here, along with french and german, who gave their lives on these grounds.
to our french allies, before the united states was ever formed, you are the first to come to our aid in our fight for invitation -- for independence. today u.s. marines are committed to strengthening those bonds. to the local communities that helped keep the history of this battle alive and well, send hostess here, every year, my most sincere thanks. to our german allies today, more than a century ago, the battle lines were drawn. sides were taken. you on one side, the united states, england and france on another. today, in our formation, we see how things have changed. the u.s. army, french army, german army, standing side-by-
side. we have all embraced the common values of democracy, rule of law and freedom. we stand together not just to commemorate a battle 100 years ago, but we stand as allies, tomorrow in conflicts against common enemies, those who would reject all that we hold sacred and are willing to die for. to the u.s. forces here today, marines, army, navy, air force, when you go back to your unit and tell your peers, your friends, your commanders, your ncos, what you learned about this battle, tell them about the discipline, the spirit, the skill, the fitness of those who fought here. the spirit can never be defeated, because that is what
it takes to be victorious on any battlefield. use the knowledge to protect -- to prepare yourself for the next one. when we serve, whatever nation we serve, we sign a blank check for that country. the gravestones here are the markers of those who paid that price. they did their duty. and they expect us to do hours, when it is our turn. to ensure their sacrifice is never forgotten. so, may we all take courage in the example of those who fought on this ground a century ago. courage that compelled us to stand up for what was right and fight for each other. and may we remain lasting allies. as u.s. marines, we remain semper fidelis. god bless.
>> we are pleased again to welcome representatives from 5th marine regiment and 6th marine regiment, the two u.s. marine regiments that fought in belleau wood. [ speaking french ] colonel andrew monroe, in the name of the fifth marine regiment. and colonel matthew reid in the name of the sixth marine regiment.
stars, thro' the perilous fight, o'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming? and the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there. o say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? ♪
>> the american battle monuments commission and the entire team at the aisne-marne american cemetery would like to thank the u.s. marek turley -- the u.s. military, the german military, the french military and others for their assistance. thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for being here to honor our fallen. [ speaking french ]
we are showing american history tv programs normally only shown on the weekend, here on c-span3. today we are focusing on world war i. this year is the centennial of the u.s. participation in what is called the great war. coming up, author and historian edward lengel on how america joined the war and the consequences of that decision. that is followed by war reenactors at an event in pennsylvania. we talked to those portraying american doughboys, as well as french and german world war i soldiers. you can find american history tv programs online anytime.
american history tv weekdays continues until labor day. on monday, a look at how the conspiracy theory culture developed in the u.s., from our lectures in history series. tuesday, from our president ceres, the life and presidency of andrew jackson. wednesday, historical interpretations of reconstruction after the civil war. american history tv next week, here on c-span3. this weekend on american history tv during real america, the 1943 war department film, why we fight, divide and conquer. explaining the causes of world war ii. and saturday night at 11:00 eastern, a historian explains
the psychological trauma and symptoms experienced by world war i soldiers and the lessons military scientist learned at the time. and sunday, desegregation of the u.s. military. we discussed what led to president harry truman's 1948 executive order, desegregating the u.s. military and its impact on african-americans. that is sunday evening on american history tv. every weekend, here on c-span3. this sunday on oral history, we continue our series on women in congress with eva clayton. >> my instincts, my service, and finally their acceptance of me. and they did. they did. you know, i wasn't on that
committee only because i was the ranking committee. it was the contributions. also they accepted me as equal and many accepted me as their superior. they allowed me to know that i could negotiate with the best of them. >> watch oral history, sunday at 10 am historian -- 10 am eastern on american history tv on c-span3. u.s. involvement in world war i started 100 years ago, in the spring and summer of 1918. american soldiers and marines saw their first major combat in northeastern france, along the western front. more than 10,000 americans
died, were wounded or went missing in the area. next, edward lengel, author of thunder and flames: americans in the crucible of combat, 1917- 1918. first, we visit the aisne-marne american cemetery and hear about the resting place of many of the american soldiers who lost their lives in france during world war i. >> i say, with visitors, when they walk through the gate here, by how beautiful and well- maintained it is. a lot of work goes into it. there is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. this site is maintained by the u.s. government, actually the american battle monument commission, an independent agency of the executive branch. there is one american manager on site here. there is