Friday, August 22, 2008

The American Saint-Mihiel Offensive, September 12, 1918

My grandfather, George A. Carlson, was one 560,000 American soldiers (doughboys) who took part in the great American Saint-Mihiel Offensive, which began at dawn on September 12, 1918. There were also 48,000 French soldiers (poilu) in the offensive. The battle was a major victory; liberating two hundred square miles of French territory. Map of Battle Site

My grandfather was in the 89th Division, which attacked from the south and liberated the town of Thaiucourt some 10 miles northward. Because of his diary, I know he was in a trench near the village of Limey when the offensive began. On the morning of this September 12th, I will walk from Limey to Thaiucourt. I will literally be walking in my grandfather's footsteps 90 years to the day. But, I will not be walking alone. My friend Patrick Simon, who lives near Thaiucourt, will join me on this historic trek. We will walk to the monument in the center of Thaiucourt, which is a tribute to the town's suffering under the occupation of the German Army. The monument also commemorates the 89th Division.

From the monument, Patrick and I will complete our journey by walking the short distance westward to the American WWI Saint-Mihel Cemetery. It will be a day of reflection and with each step honor those brave American and French soldiers who fought for freedom so long ago. For me it will be a contemplative time of connecting with my grandfather.

WWI Monument in Thaicourt with the the French soldier (Poilu) (right) thanking the American soldier (doughboy) (left).

The American Saint Mihiel WWI Cemetery

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