Marines honor the fallen from World War I's Battle of Belleau Wood
via the Audacy.com web site
U.S. Marines participated in a memorial ceremony alongside representatives from the French and German militaries at the Aisne-Marne American Cemetery in Belleau, France, 29 May 2022. The ceremony is held annually in recognition of the Marines, soldiers and sailors of all three nations who fought and died in the Battle of Belleau Wood in June of 1918.
“This battle, this place, is more than a chapter in our storied history,” said the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General David H. Berger. “Belleau Wood was a demonstration of an unrivaled commitment to our allies and our partners, and to the cause of liberty… just as it was necessary then, our relationships and our collective commitment will be pivotal in the fights ahead.”The Battle of Belleau Wood is remembered for the intensity of the fighting and the heavy casualties sustained, as well as for the participation of the 5th and 6th Marine Regiments. To this day, Marines assigned to these two regiments wear the French fourragère on the left shoulder of their uniforms as a reminder of their unit’s distinguished service during the First World War. “We can never repay the debt owed to those who rest here,” said retired U.S. Army Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, who now serves as the Secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission. “But we can and we will honor their service… These honored dead represent a legacy of our families, the diversity and values of who we are as a people, and what we represent as a nation.” Delegations from the U.S., French and German militaries, as well as civilian leaders from the nearby French town of Chateau-Thierry, delivered remarks, read poems, and laid wreaths at the memorial. The ceremony concluded with the playing of the French and American “Taps” and “Ich hatt eienen Kameraden” - a traditional song of the German military - and a rifle salute.
“This historical site of Belleau Wood is no longer a symbol of the grief that once divided our people, but has long since become a symbol of what we North Atlantic Treaty Organization soldiers stand for: the preservation of peace and the defense of freedom,” said Brigadier General Michael Podzus, the deputy commander of the German 10th Panzer Division. “Peace is not a static condition. It must be worked for, built, and maintained by every new generation, over and over again.”
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