Tours American Monument Dedication in 1937

The Tours American Monument Dedication is one of thirteen segments featured in the "American 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: At Tours in the Chateau region of France, a memorial fountain commemorates the achievements of the men who served in the Services of Supply of the American Expeditionary Forces.  Their work behind the battle lines made possible the brilliant success of the American fighting units.  The ceremony of dedication is attended by distinguished French officials, the official American delegation, and many officers of the French Army and Navy.  The streets are crowded with French citizens who have come to honor the wartime achievements of the American supply organization. 

The flags of the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars add color to the occasion. 

[music plays]

NARRATOR: The ceremony opens with prayers by the Reverend Harry Smith, Father O’Conner, and Rabbi Aaronson.  Reverend Smith is speaking.

REVEREBD SMITH: The high and mighty ruler of the universe who has made of all nations of one blood, who dost from thine throne behold all the glories upon the face of the whole earth, who did send thy only son Jesus Christ, the prince of peace, to preach peace to them that are foul and to them that are nigh.  Give us grace to lay the hearts, the grave dangers we are in in this world by our unhappy divisions.  Take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatsoever may hinder us from godly union and concord.  We heartily beseech thee our father, in whose hands are both the living and the dead.   With thy favor to behold and bless those high servants who having fought the fight and finished their fortunes paid do now rest from their labor.

NARRATOR: Mrs. Henry Fenimore Baker, a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission, makes the principal address.

MRS. BAKER: We have listened with deep interest to the story of this beautiful memorial that commemorates the marvelous achievements of over 650,000 of our American boys who worked behind the lines.  We mothers, wives, sisters, sweethearts, back home of those same boys, gloried in their splendid services.  We were proud of their work, so vast and so complicated.  Our task was not so easy.  We all need a spiritual awakening.  For any nation that forgets God will perish.  My message to the mothers of the world is get back to God.  He’s still in the hearts of our men.  Not only love of country, but love of God and humanity.   Only then will the peace of the world and the cause for which our sons died come to pass. 

NARRATOR: General Vincensini, Quartermaster General of the French Army, expresses the admiration of the French for the outstanding work of the American services of supply.

GENERAL VINCENSINI:  …others etch on these crosses of marble in five marvelous cemeteries.   The work of the services of supply was not yet finished.  Engineering and stewardship had the sacred task of developing these cemeteries and watching over these thousands of tombs.

NARRATOR: Mr. Défossé representing the French Minister of the Interior, makes the address of welcome.

MR. DEFOSSE: …they came here to defend and shed their blood for the cause of human rights and liberty.

NARRATOR: The Honorable Charles A. Eaton, member of Congress from New Jersey, and an official American delegate makes an inspiring speech of dedication.

CHARLES EATON: We were not willing to see the Polish star of human hope and destiny, plucked from the sky by the bloody hand of war.  America is free.  We want the world to be free.  That was the mighty urge which caused the American government and people to break from their fixed foreign policy of 140 years, and which made it possible for our American minded General Pershing to salute the image of Lafayette and say, “We are here.”

NARRATOR: The monument is unveiled.  The bronze sculptured groups surmounting the monument is designed by Mr.  C.P. Jennewein of New York, and won a gold medal in competition.  The carved figures represent administration, construction, procurement and distribution, the four great branches of the services of the supply organization.

[American national anthem plays]                          

NARRATOR:  French troops pass in review to stirring music by the band of the 3rd French Air Division.