Chateau-Thierry American Monument Dedication in 1937

The Chateau-Thierry 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: On Hill 204 overlooking Chateau-Thierry and the Marne River stands this beautiful monument, which commemorates the valor and sacrifices of the American soldiers who fought in the region.  The Miami Drum and Bugle Corps arrives playing popular American wartime music. 

[music plays]

NARRATOR: The arrival of members of the American Legion, who are visiting France as guests of the French government, other distinguished guests, both French and American arrive.

[music plays]

NARRATOR:  General John J. Pershing makes the address of welcome. 

GENERAL PERSHING: It is for me a distinct pleasure to see before me on this former battlefield so many veterans who served here and elsewhere with the American Army in the World War.   And to see them surrounded by their affectionate and appreciative friends of the French nation.  This region is particularly interesting to Americans because here the first and the final advance of the enemy toward Paris made in May 1918 was stopped by the 2nd and 3rd American Divisions, the 2nd at Belleau Wood and the 3rd at Chateau-Thierry.  The enemy then held what was known as the Chateau-Thierry salient.  On July 18, 1918, the 1st and 2nd Divisions, with the Moroccan Division as a part of the French 10th Army, successfully attacked the enemy south of Soissons and made his position in the salient untenable.  This monument commemorates the services of each and every unit that participated in the fighting in this region including the units pertaining to the French Army.  I extend to the veterans of the American Legion a warm welcome here today and trust that your visit to France may meet with your highest expectations.  I greet you most cordially. 

[applause]

NARRATOR: Mr. Daniel Doherty, the National Commander of the American Legion, delivers the introductory address.

DANIEL DOHERTY: We have assembled here today on soil made sacred by those who gave their lives that liberty might live.  Although the purpose of our assembly is one of dedication, they who made the supreme sacrifice here, have dedicated beyond our poor power to add or detract.   

NARRATOR: General James G. Harbord delivers the dedicatory address. 

GENERAL HARBORD: We have met here today to dedicate this memorial to the Americans who 19 years ago fought in the great triangle known as the Aisne-Marne Salient.  Here for the first time American divisions had been available to join with our Allies in striking a decisive offensive blow.  The power of the American arms brought to bear in the Marne Salient made it possible to crush the last enemy offensive.  The death of many brave men near this hallowed spot served a great ultimate purpose.  This memorial testifies to our faith that we to whom they pass their torch can uphold and will maintain the principles for which these men died.   Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.   

[applause]

NARRATOR: Mr. Rivoli National Commander of the French War Veterans, pays a stirring tribute to the American troops.

MR. RIVOLI: We inaugurate the last and one of the most beautiful monuments, that of Chateau-Thierry. I feel honored that the task has fallen to me of representing the four million veterans and war victims of our national organization, who wish to express their gratitude toward the thousands of young Americans who gave their lives in defense of an ideal, the same ideal for which so many of our own were sacrificed.

[applause and then U.S. national anthem plays]

NARRATOR: With the close of the dedication ceremony at Chateau-Thierry, the construction phase of the work of the Commission ended.  And there is now located at the scenes of their exploits, an enduring record of the World War accomplishments of the American soldiers and sailors.

[music plays]