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Britain Buries Her Own <br />(Literary Digest, 1919)Britain Buries Her Own
(Literary Digest, 1919)
Aside from scanning and posting vast numbers of historic magazine articles, the only other activity that has heightened our sense of inner tranquility has been our various walks through British and Commonwealth World War I graveyards. They are truly unique and beautiful gardens that can be appreciated on a number of different levels and it was not surprising to learn that many of the finest aesthetic minds in Britain had a hand in their creation.

This article, printed six months after the last shot was fired, is about the Imperial War Graves Commission (now called The Commonwealth War Graves Commission) and their plans as to how the dead of the British Empire were to be interred.

Click here to read about a 1920 visit the grave of poet Rupert Brooke.

The Eight World War One American Cemeteries <br />(Literary Digest, 1923)The Eight World War One American Cemeteries
(Literary Digest, 1923)
Written five years after the Armistice, this is an article about the eight U.S. W.W. I cemeteries that were erected in Europe (with the help of German P.O.W. labor) and the money that was set aside by the veterans of The American Legion to aid in the upkeep of these memorials:

The American flag is still in Europe, even tho the last Doughboy has left the Rhine. It floats over eight cemeteries, six in France, one in Belgium and one in England...It is the high honor of the American Legion to represent the American people in the fulfillment of the sacred national obligation of decorating the graves of our soldiers abroad on Memorial Day. The Legion pledges itself always to remember and honor our dead on foreign soil on the day when the heart of all Americans is thrilling with reverence for them."

The American Military Cemeteries in France <br />(The Stars and Stripes, 1919)The American Military Cemeteries in France
(The Stars and Stripes, 1919)
"France has given three fields of honor at Romagne, Thiacort and at Beaumont".

This short notice from an American military newspaper reported that four percent of the American dead were considered unidentifiable.

The American Cemetery at Romagne  <br />(Literary Digest, 1919)The American Cemetery at Romagne
(Literary Digest, 1919)
An eye-witness account of the construction of the American Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in Romagne, France:

"They are now gathering up the bodies of the 26,000 American boys who were killed on the Argonne-Meuse battlefield, and are burying them in a great cemetery at Romagne, a little town in the heart of the region where the fighting took place. Here and there all over the battlefield are stakes, each marking the grave of an American soldier who was buried where he fell."

"In one of the office buildings a large force of clerks is keeping the records of the dead; no banking firm could be more careful of its accounts than are these clerks...and their superiors of their registration of graves."

The Unknown Soldier <br />(The Atlantic Monthly, 1927)The Unknown Soldier
(The Atlantic Monthly, 1927)
Ten years after Congress decided to enter the war in Europe, James Truslow Adams (1878 1949) wrote this article that appeared in THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY in which he noted that one of the maladies of the modern era was the creation of a new type of collective thinking that celebrated "the common man":

"Man has always delighted to honor the great...But now for the first time whole nations, and those the most enlightened, have come to honor the man of whom we know nothing: the Unknown Soldier. As a matter of unfortunate fact, the particular body may be that of one who fought the draft to the last ditch and was a slacker in service. That, however, is of course wholly irrelevant; for it is not really the Unknown Soldier who thus receives the almost religious adoration of his people, but the Common Man, for that is what he is intending to typify..."

Finding the Graves of American Aviators <br />(Literary Digest, 1919)Finding the Graves of American Aviators
(Literary Digest, 1919)
The difficult task of wandering the war-torn countryside of Europe in search of fallen World War I American pilots fell to a U.S. Army captain named E.W. Zinn. A combat pilot himself, Zinn had roamed France, Belgium and Germany interviewing the local population to see what they knew of American crash sites:

"Many times he has come upon a grave with a rude cross on which was scrawled:
'Unidentified American Aviator' or 'Two Unidentified American Aviators'"

"Captain Zinn has found that in a great many cases American fliers were buried either by the Germans or by civilians with no mark of identification left on them."

Click here to read some statistical data about the American Doughboys of the First World War.

U.S. Cemeteries: A Flag for Every Grave <br />(American Legion Weekly, 1920)U.S. Cemeteries: A Flag for Every Grave
(American Legion Weekly, 1920)
An article that appeared in an American veterans magazine concerning the pageantry that would mark the Memorial Day of 1920 at each of the primary A.E.F. cemeteries in France.

"More than 127,000 American soldiers, sailors and Marines gave up their lives during the war...Total battle deaths in the A.E.F. killed in action and died of wounds were 50,329 including casualties in the Siberian force. Deaths from disease including the A.E.F. and men in the home cantonments, were 58,837...No American field of honor will be without it's Memorial Day ceremony, no American grave without its flag and its flowers..."

An interesting article that was written at a time it was believed that the A.E.F. cemeteries were going to be closed and the interred repatriated. There is a photograph of an early prototype headstone that was later rejected in favor of a stone cross; references are made to Suresnes Cemetery in Paris.

How the W.W. I Unknown Soldier was Selected <br />(Collier's Magazine, 1945)How the W.W. I Unknown Soldier was Selected
(Collier's Magazine, 1945)
A printable piece from a 1945 COLLIER'S MAGAZINE outlining how Sergeant Edward F. Younger (died August 6, 1942) selected which of the four unidentified Doughboys set before him would be interred in the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery.
Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph <br />(American Legion Monthly, 1936)Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph
(American Legion Monthly, 1936)
"This chill November morning the Cenotaph is surrounded by serried masses of men. Up and down Whitehall as far as one can see are thousands and thousands packed in so tightly they cannot move...Suddenly from St. James Park comes the sound of a gun. They used to say it was impossible for a British crowd to be quiet. That was before Armistice Day. For the hum of London dies at the sound of the gun...Somewhere in the distance a horse paws the ground and neighs. A flag flaps in the breeze. Never such a silence as this. A King and his people pause sixty seconds in solemn celebration for the dead. It is the Great Hush."
American W.W. I  Cemeteries and  French Gratitude <br />(American Legion Monthly, 1936)American W.W. I Cemeteries and French Gratitude
(American Legion Monthly, 1936)
Eighteen years after the last shot was fired in World War I, Americans collectively wondered, as they began to think about all the empty chairs that were setting at so many family dinner tables, "Do the French care about all that we sacrificed? Do they still remember that we were there?" In response to this question, an American veteran who remained behind in France, submitted the attached article to "The American Legion Monthly" and answered with a resounding "Yes" on all six pages:

"...I can assure you that the real France, the France of a thousand and one villages in which we were billeted; the France of Lorraine peasants, of Picardy craftsmen, of Burgundy winegrowers - remembers, with gratitude, the A.E.F. and its contribution to the Allied victory."

The article is accompanied by eight photographs of assembled Frenchmen decorating American grave sites.

Click here to read about the foreign-born soldiers who served in the American Army of the First World War.