Meuse-Argonne Flower Ceremony

1 year ago

On October 24, 2022 the staff of the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery supported the Society by laying flowers at the graves of the Unknown Soldier candidates not selected in 1921 to become the World War I Unknown Soldier commemorating events 101 years ago.

During the Centennial of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier (1921-2021) the Society conducted a historic pilgrimage that followed the footsteps of the World War I Unknown Soldier. Members, along with American Gold Star Mothers and the President General of the Daughters of the American Revolution, visited the four American Battle Monuments Commission cemeteries where candidates for the Unknown Soldier were selected on October 23, 1921.

To learn more about the selection process of the World War I Unknown Soldier visit our website.

On October 24, 2021, the pilgrimage group stopped to pay our respects to those not selected in 1921 and conducted a simple flower ceremony allowing all in attendance to individually pay their respects. The three candidates not selected during the 1921 ceremony were returned and buried here on October 24, 1921, in Plot G, Row 1, Graves 1-2-3. We also unfolded and then refolded a special flag that accompanied the group and touched it to each headstone.

Pilgrimage members pay their respects in 2021 to the three candidates not selected to become the World War I Unknown Soldier

“With a hand upon the stone ready to pay respect to a fallen brother. A wave of emotion swept over me, and I was humbled. I thought about Audie Murphy's poem. Alone and removed from earthly care the noble ruins of men lay buried here, they were good men, strong men, endowed with youth and much to will to give. I hear no protests from the mute lips of the dead; they rest there is nothing more to give.” - Former Sentinel James Tate (1983-85)

To learn more about this pilgrimage please visit our news section of the website for the daily blogs starting with our visit to St. Mihiel American Cemetery.

This year the simple flower ceremony was coordinated by members of the American Legion Paris Post 1 and the Superintendent of the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. AMBC staff member Aurelie Kieffer took special care to prepare the three graves with American and French flags, and lay white French roses upon each on our behalf. The use of the white rose is an important connection with events that occurred during the selection of the Unknown Soldier when Sergeant Edward Younger was given a spray of white roses to make the selection with.

“I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Superintendent Bruce Malone and Aurelie Keiffer for laying flowers on our behalf to remember the service and sacrifice of those Unknown Americans who were not selected to become World War I Unknown Soldiers. Your devotion to the memory of our fallen is inspiring”. - Gavin McIlvenna (1997-98), Commemorative Committee Chair

To learn more about the white roses and the Centennial Bouquet please visit our website.

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