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1917 – 1918
Compiled and arranged
Frederick W. Hood
From the official reports of
General John J. Pershing, Commander in Chief
Colonel Leonard P. Ayers, Chief of Statistics Branch
and other reliable writers
To the soldiers, sailors, marines and army nurses of Clay County,
who served in the cause of our country, willing to give their lives
for the freedom of the word from the most dreadful menace of all
time, this volume is dedicated.
The Telescope Publishing Company
The great war drama ended, our fighting men have returned home. The sound of the giant cannon and the deadly rattle of machine gun is stilled. Better than all, no life blood flows; the bayonet is sheathed, the bullet sleeps harmless in its clip.
We have had our day of glorification. Their German leadership, fully confident of its strength, assured of its weapons, arrogant beyond anything in recorded history, challenged the organized and unorganized forces of the world to mortal combat. They thrust the Imperial German sword through all the covenants and commands of civilization and of justice. Bursting forth upon an unprepared and unsuspecting world, they were, despite their incredible strength, checked by France of the battle field of the Marne, encircled by the British fleets, and like Napoleon after Leipzig, condemned to ultimate defeat. At the hour when the white flag was brought to the French lines, British armies were approaching the field of Waterloo, American armies stood victorious in Sedan, and the French armies were sweeping forward from the Oise to the Meuse. The crowning humiliation came with the admission of defeat.
We salute our army and our navy. They did not fail us at any point, in any test, however arduous of fiery. The defeat of the German army was accomplished by a nation that hated war and was supposed to be incapable of military development. Our regiments, devoted, efficient and indefatigable, met the most famous troops of the enemy, a power that above all things was military, and crushed their resistance. They set new records of sanguinary valor under punishment, and driven always and irresistibly on to victory. They have written a page in the annals of the republic and in the history of war which will shine down through the ages with unsurpassed magnificence. Our best thoughts is for the men who have given their lives for our cause and for the men more fortunate, but not less willing to give all, who in France and Flanders have covered our flag once more with undying glory, the soldiers of the Marne, of Cantigny, of the great German repulse east of Reims, of Chateau Thierry, of St. Mihiel, the Argonne, and Sedan. The graves of our men have consecrated these immortal battlefields and our sacred dead will live on in the memory of the Republic forever. As for those who have returned, crowned with victory, they are, and shall henceforth be, first and foremost in this great motherland, who sent them forth with aching yet uplifted heart, confident that they would honor her, –even as they have done.
We have none of us passed through the great experience of the world war without receiving its mark. Though we did not witness the heroic charge of our infantry across death-swept meadows, or hear with our ears the thunder of the great guns, or feel the earth shake under the tread of marching legions, yet in the background of all our thoughts at all times, was the solemn consciousness that the destiny of mankind was at work in mighty throes toward an end hidden to our knowledge, if not to our faith and hope. New generations will spring forth innocent of the memories which are ours and the inexpressible lessons of our day. But for us, it has been, with all its tragedy and vast destruction, a day of illumination and inspiration.