Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Saturday, January 30, 2016

American Monuments on the Western Front: 5 I've Missed

I have been traveling to the Western Front since 1990,  but when I was visiting the archives of American War Memorials Overseas, Inc., I discovered a number I must have driven past several times or have been close to.  Here are five interesting ones.

1. Pennsylvania Fountain at Belleau

A fountain, formerly the town's water supply, is now used as a planter. Above it there is a marble plaque above with French and English text, commemorating Pennsylvania's soldiers who fell in the area.

2. Fifth Division Monument at Cléry-le-Petit

Captured by Fifth Division, November 1918.

3. Lafayette and Pershing Columns outside Versailles

On both sides of the road on the D985 (Rue de Versailles) located between Ville d'Avray and Versailles. Partly completed in 1937, they were to bear equestrian statues of the two historic figures but were never finished due to the Second World War.

4.  Graffiti Rock of American Soldiers, Vosges Mountains

Deep in the woods halfway between Senones and Celles sur Plaine east of Baccarat, where several U.S divisions served in the line.  (This one I would have never found on my own.)

5. First Division Route Marker, Yoncq, Argonne

A tombstone shaped stele with the inscription "First Division, November 5th 1918"  The division was been moving through the area of Yoncq when they encountered German forces in early November 1918. After capturing the village and the surrounding woods the division was ordered north to help capture Sedan.

Visit the excellent website of American War Memorials Overseas, Inc. at: 


  1. The French "Association Pershing La Fayette Versailles" is trying to raise funds to fabricate and erect the Lafayette and Pershing equestrian statues outside Versailles (#3 above) in 2017. Plaster versions of the statues were in place for the 1937 dedication, but there were insufficient funds (and time) to cast them in bronze before WWII.

    The Association Pershing La Fayette Versailles has a website (though it's in French and short on information):

  2. Interesting that Germany did not destroy these when they re-occupied France in WW II.