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

Monday, November 25, 2019

North Carolina's Breaking of the Hindenburg Line Commemorated

In a remarkably executed one-year effort—conceived of by proud North Carolinians John Merritt, David Sneeden, and Jerry  Hester—the Tar Heel State has seen that the greatest achievement of its sons during the First World War will be remembered. In late September 1918 the 60th Brigade (National Guardsmen from North Carolina) of the 30th AEF Division broke through the "impregnable" Hindenburg Line at the village of Nauroy, France.  On 10 November 2019, 364 days after the project was conceived, the monument shown below was dedicated on the site of the division's fighting at Nauroy.

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The monument, designed by Jeff Allen Associates of Winston-Salem, NC, features an obelisk on a large base with informational panel and was carved from North Carolina white granite.  The sculpture is topped with a  Doughboy helmet mounted at a resting angle.  The division patch is conspicuous on both the monument and the division flag carried by the color guard for the dedication.  It superimposes "O" and "H" for "Old Hickory" and XXX representing 30th Division.  Along the top of the flag can be seen the battle streamer for the 1918 victory.

Nauroy was on the front line for the last two years of the war and was fortified and incorporated into the German defensive network. The village lost many men in the war who are remembered at the community's war memorial.  The North Carolina memorial could not have been built without the wholehearted support of  the village's citizens.

The Mayor of Nauroy (center) hosted a groundbreaking ceremony in May 2019.  Susi Hamilton, NC Secretary of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs (left),  represented her state, and Jerry Hester (yellow shirt), one of the three initiators of the project, represented the National World War One Centennial Commission.  The site was designated the Place Caroline du Nord. 

10 November 2019

The North Carolina delegation at the dedication ceremony:  BG Todd Hunt, NC National Guard; Susi Hamilton, NC Sec. Dept. of Cultural Resources; Erich Hooks, NC Sec. of Public Safety; Martin Falls, NC Asst. Sec. of Veterans Affairs

After the unveiling.  On the home front the funding the effort was made possible through the generosity of the private citizens and counties of North Carolina, with the support of the state's National Guard.

North Carolina presented a plaque with a Doughboy helmet matching the one topping the monument to Nauroy mayor Jean-Jacques Froment

Three officers of the NC National Guard had grandfathers who fought at Nauroy.

1 comment:

  1. I really love this. It's remarkable they put this together so fast.