When Jen and I rolled into the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery, I expected that we would be staying for just a few a minutes and then move on.
The few minutes turned into 90 minutes. This is not a political blog but people who know me know I have low confidence in government and particularly the US Federal Government. I have to say though, the cemetery is immaculately kept and makes me proud.
World War I is not a “favored” war. Books are not written them being a “Greatest Generation”, yet these men fought, were wounded, and too often died. They were often ill-trained against an experienced determined foe, the Kaiser’s German Army.
General Pershing insisted that the Americans fight as an Army. The challenge was daunting. The only worthwhile piece of equipment that the Americans brought to the table were small arms and they did not have enough of those. Their doctrinaire tactics were a shambles. For all intents and purposes, the US Army was a glorified constabulary force with leftover manuals from the Civil War. General Pershing was the only General in the Army to manage troops at the Brigade level, now he was being called on to manage Corps. The results of which are argued about by historians. What cannot be argued about is that he shaped the organization of the modern army profoundly.
Wars cause casualties, World War I, The Great War, excelled at it.
I’ve visited the Viet Nam memorial in Washington, DC and found it moving.
The Meuse-Argonne Cemetery is moving at scale, it is physically imposing. A reminder that a name, is more than a name, it was in fact, a human being.