Sommepy American Monument Dedication in 1937

The Sommepy 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: Erected on the dominating, wind-swept Blanc Mont Ridge, this memorial near Sommepy commemorates the achievements of the 70,000 American soldiers who served in the Champagne Region of France during the World War.  The distinguished French and American guests arrive and cross over an old German trench to reach the monument.  In spite of the isolation of the site, more than 2,000 local inhabitants walked from their distant homes to this ceremony in honor of the American soldier.   The 8th Regiment of Zouaves very gay in their red caps, play impressive music. 

[music plays]

Narrator: General Flavigny, the Army Commandant at Reims, represents the French Army and pays tribute to the heroism of the American unit. 

General Flavigny:  …the great American Army commanded by General Pershing crossed the ocean to help France fight for human rights and liberty…

Narrator: Colonel D. John Markey, a member of the American Battle Monuments Commission, makes the introductory address.

Colonel D. John Markey: We are commemorating in this monument the services of about 65,000 American soldiers who fought in this Champagne sector.

Narrator: The principal address is made by Mister C.A. Ragor, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Disabled American Veterans of the World War.

Mister C.A. Ragor: …they were replaced by the crack, shock troops of the German Army, chosen particularly for this job, and commanded by the Crown Prince, whose objective was Souhain however, because of powerful resistance, the Allied troops, he was forced to change his objective and travel to the rear.  

Narrator: Mr. Harry W. Colmery, the National Commander of the American Legion, gives details of the fighting of the 2nd, 36th, 42nd, and 93rd American Divisions, whose achievements are commemorated by the monument.

Harry Colmery: On this very site 19 years ago, history was made by American arms. Here in July 1918, the 42nd Division of the United States Army entered the battlefront between the 13th and the 17th Divisions of the French Army, and it assisted in repelling the last major offensive of the German troop.  Here in September 1918, when the Allied Armies were making their drive forward, the 4th French Army found itself stopped here at Mont Blanc.  Here on the 3rd of October 1918, the 2nd Division of the American Army, having on its left the 31st French Division and on its’ right the 167th French Division, stormed and captured this strategic and dominant position in the German lines.  Here in this sector and immediately thereafter, the same 2nd Division and 36th Division of the American Army continued to drive forward to the Aisne, carrying with them the French Divisions on either left and right.

Narrator: The monument is unveiled.  

[American national anthem plays]

Narrator: The ceremony ends with the 8th Regiment of Zouaves marches past in review.