Share

COLUMN: 100th Anniversary of Armistice Shows Importance of Honoring Fallen Heroes and Today’s Veterans

November 13, 2018
Weekly Column and Op-Ed

November 11th of this year marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. Over the course of that conflict, 116,516 American military personnel lost their lives. The deadliest battle in U.S. history was at Argonne Forest, from September 26, 1918 lasting more than a month, until the Armistice. The battle involved more than one million American soldiers and resulted in more than 26,000 American military deaths. The toll was unimaginable, but the U.S. contribution and heavy sacrifice on behalf of the Allied cause turned the tide.

The famous World War I General, John Pershing, once said that it was his "desire that every man in the American Expeditionary Forces should be given the opportunity to visit Paris before returning to the United States." His remarks make it all the more moving that the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial, the resting place of 1,565 American soldiers, rests on a hill overlooking the French capital. This week, I was humbled to have the honor of participating in a wreath-laying ceremony to observe the solemn occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice at the Suresnes Cemetery.

The Suresnes Cemetery was dedicated in 1937 and became the first permanent overseas U.S. cemetery. Far from home, 29 of the buried – 27 U.S. Army soldiers, one Navy Fireman First Class, and one Marine Corps private – are from the State of Washington. The uniform rows of white stone crosses reminded me of Arlington National Cemetery. Inscribed on the chapel overlooking the Suresnes cemetery are the words, “Peaceful is their sleep in glory.”

As I visited the hallowed ground where America’s sons and daughters were laid to rest on foreign soil, I was filled with gratitude for those that have fallen and our veterans.  On Sunday, November 11th, the U.S. observed Veterans Day, showing honor to every veteran for service and sacrifice that goes beyond what most of us can imagine. 560,000 veterans are our neighbors in the State of Washington, and on Veteran’s Day a grateful nation said thank you.

The passing of the brave men and women who have served is a reminder that we as Americans must take the opportunity to honor veterans while they are still with us. Our community and nation are eternally grateful, and we have no doubt that our freedoms have been made secure through the sacrifice of others.