Montsec American Monument Dedication in 1937

The Montsec 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: Built on a high isolated hill near Montsec, France, this memorial commemorates the capture of the St. Mihiel salient by the American First Army, the operations of the American Second Army later on in this same region, and the sector service of American Divisions in Alsace and Lorraine. The inscription inside the peristyle is a quotation from General Pershing’s battle report as the Commander and Chief of the AEF.

[music plays]

NARRATOR: The names of the towns which appear on the outside of the monument are those of places in the region, which were prominently connected with the American fighting. The color guard to the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion arrive. Prominent French officials and members of the official delegation from the United States, after passing through the massed flags of the French war veterans, take their places near the speaker’s stand. The Americans present were touched by the attendance of approximately 6,000 French inhabitants, most of whom walked many miles to be present on this historic occasion. From the speaker’s stand, which looks down upon the fields restored to France by the American Army, Colonel Robert G. Woodside, the Vice Chairman of the American Battle Monuments Commission, makes the introductory address.

COLONEL WOODSIDE: The people of the United States have been most fortunate in having at the head of this commission, the great leader of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during the World War, General Pershing. Since the inception of the commission, he has given unstintingly of his time and effort in our program for commemorating properly the services of the men he led and loved. We sincerely trust what this beautiful memorial will long grace the crest of this mountain as a symbol of perpetual peace to the inhabitants of the verdant plains surrounding the memorial.

NARRATOR:  The Honorable Mr. Hill, Chairman of the Military Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives and a member of the American official delegation, makes this principle address. Congressman Hill: We have come today as the representatives of the American people to dedicate this beautiful and imposing monument. That it may stand here through the years as a reminder to all who pass this way of the heroism, the valor, and the devotion of those men who fought and struggled and contended here. And that it may symbolize through posterity a nation’s homage and a nation’s love. This monument commemorates the great attack in the direction of Metz, the operations and the services of the American forces to the southeast and in the Vosges Mountains.

NARRATOR: Senator Gaston Roger, a French war veteran and one of the three French speakers, praises the American battle accomplishments in the region.

SENATOR ROGER: General Pershing, 12 American divisions along with four French divisions of the 2nd colonial army of General Blondoy pushed the enemy back from 384 kilometers of French territory. They delivered Thiaucourt, Saint Mihiel and many other villages and would have pursued them even farther if the high command had not halted their advance.

COLONEL WOODSIDE: I now present to you, Brigadier General Bernard W. Kearney, Commander and Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States.

GENERAL KEARNEY: Mr. Chairman, General, distinguished guests, my comrades French and American, ladies and gentlemen, as the Commander in Chief of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States of America, it is my privilege today to represent hundreds of thousands of American boys who served in France during the World War side by side with their French comrades. As time goes on, we more fully realize just what we as individuals and as an American unit went through during those hectic days of late 1918, and particularly in that thought, and as the Commander in Chief of this organization, I stand here to dedicate a memorial that commemorates the first operations of a complete American Army as an independent unit during the World War.

NARRATOR:  All present stand at attention during the unveiling when the band of the French 94th Regiment plays the National Anthem.

[music plays-American national anthem]