Saturday, September 17, 2011

pro patria mori

To be born in one land, and to die in another. On a gravestone, it is not a novel inscribed; but in a few characters a story is limned. An historian, an antiquarian, or some sort of researcher may be able to uncover more details. One could search for relatives to interview. Often, after the passage of a certain number of years, no one knows more than the marks inscribed. Yet, those marks have some instructive value. St. John's Cemetery, Cleveland. Sargeant James Kelly. Company B, 8th Ohio Volunteer Infantry. Wounded at Gettysburg. July 3, 1863. Born in Ireland March 3, 1836. Died July 7, 1863. May his soul rest in peace.
Kelly was an immigrant to America [when did he arrive?]. He died four days after being wounded in the most famous of that war's many, many battles — Gettysburg. The name is Irish. The stone has the clover, the Irish will have you know, is the shamrock. The stone also has a cross, and sits in a Catholic cemetery. It was very important, and very promoted for Catholics to be buried only in hallowed grounds, which usually meant Catholic cemeteries.
Woodland Cemetery, Cleveland. 7th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry. War for the Union 1861-1865.
Woodland Cemetery was the City of Cleveland's most important public cemetery in the XIXth century. It opened in 1853, and was conveniently available for the war dead. Near the main entrance there are two large monuments for two regiments [23rd, 7th] of infantry. The one for the 23rd was dedicated on August 1, 1865, just a few months after the end of combat. The names of the war dead are written on all four sides, of the lower portion, of the monument. The number is almost evenly divided by those who died in action, and those that died by disease. Remember, the four horseman are war, famine, death, and pestilence.

The other [1872] is harder to read, for the engraving in the color of stone. Raised lettering is easy to read. It has four freshly restored, union painted, rifled cannons [West Point Foundry] defending it. The regiment was infantry.

That war had many names, but in Cleveland, at that time, it was called 'War for the Union'. The Republicans were successful politically. There were no Republicans in the South. To-day, things have changed. The South is full of Republicans, and no Republicans would use the term—'War for the Union'.

Woodland Cemetery, Cleveland. Alfred J. Straka. Born July 5, 1895. Died May 26, 1914 at Vera Cruz Mexico in the service of United States Navy.
I heard Woodrow Wilson's guns
I heard Maria calling
Saying, "Veracruz is dying
And Cuernavaca's falling"
Veracruz. Warren Zevon and Jorge Calderon
That Battle of Vera Cruz took place 21-24 April 1914. The Mexicans were having a civil war. The US occupied Vera Cruz to 23 November. Twenty two American servicemen were listed as dead. This fellow, presumably, was one.
Lake View Cemetery. John S. Allen 1893-1918. Private, Company M 18th Infantry American Expeditionary Force. Died from wounds received in action Argonne France.
The Battle for the Argonne Forest was the last offensive of the War to end all wars. It began 26 September 1918. It was the largest American engagement in the war. It was the only engagement for most Americans. It was the deadliest battle that Americans ever engaged in. America does not remember this one. This was the big one. The American Expeditionary Force (an honest name), fought along side the 4th and 5th French Armies, against the German Fifth. The Allied Forces were more than twice the size of the Germans, and suffered more casualties. The Americans were of a larger population than the Germans, and this was the first of their troops. The Germans agreed to an Armistice.

The only surviving veteran of World War I is an English waitress, that signed up in 1918. She is 110 years old, Florence Beatrice Green (née Patterson, born 19 February 1901).

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