Cantigny American Monument Dedication in 1937

The Cantigny American Monument Dedication is one of thirteen segments featured in the "America Honors Her Heroes" film. The film is the Official Record of the Dedication Ceremonies in 1937 at the American World War Memorials and Cemeteries in Europe. It was taken under the auspices of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Video Transcript

NARRATOR: In the little village of Cantigny, which was completely destroyed by shellfire during the war, an attractive memorial commemorates the capture of that village in the first large offensive by an American unit. The color guard of the Veterans of Foreign Wars arrives followed by the official American delegation. General Pershing, the Chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission, and distinguished French and American officials arrive.

[music plays]

NARRATOR: General Lamson, representing the French Army, makes an address in praise of the bravery and accomplishments of the American 1st Division at Cantigny. Colonel D. John Markey, a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission, makes the introductory address.

COLONEL MARKEY: The battle of Cantigny represented the first sized operation of American forces and proved to our allies that the American soldier could not only understand the principles of fire and movement, but that we could gain ground and we could hold it.

NARRATOR: Colonel R. R. McCormick, who fought at Cantigny with the 1st Division, makes an address.

COLONEL MCCORMICK: Twenty years ago this summer, General Pershing formed the 1st Division. Its soldiers came from every state and in that way it joined to make the American nation. Throughout its history, the 1st Division served as a training school for war, graduating battle-hardened officers to lead the fresh troops, from America.

NARRATOR: The dedicatory address is made by the Honorable Josephus Daniels, Secretary of the Navy during the World War and now United States Ambassador to Mexico.

AMBASSADOR DANIELS: (Indiscernible) …the first action of significance was at Cantigny, a small piece of ground was taken. This successful act proved the demonstration afforded by the Secretary of State and President Wilson was right when while respecting the views of the Allies who advised and questioned the American soldiers in their large units and gave America the opportunity in this supreme test to give signal to our ability to handle large bodies of men. I hereby dedicate this memorial as a lasting tribute to men who won immortal immortality in patriotic sacrifice.

[applause, music plays]

NARRATOR: The monument is unveiled. The fields seen in the background are those over which the American 1st Division advanced in its attack on the German position. [music plays] Narrator: The ceremony ends when General Pershing, Ambassador Daniels, French officials, and the members of the American delegation leave the site.

[music plays]