This book is about one remarkable day, Armistice Day, November 11, 2005. I was in the Meuse-Argonne region of northeastern France following my grandfather’s (George A. Carlson) World War I diary and attended four Armistice Day ceremonies. The initial ceremony was at the American Meuse-Argonne World War I Cemetery. The succeeding ceremonies took place in three villages within the Meuse-Argonne.
The story begins with the background of my personal journey tracing my grandfather’s footsteps through the war and moves to the events a few days before Armistice Day. The story then changes to an overview of the First World War and explains how the United States became involved in the war and helped bring it to a close. The historical section ends with a summary of the predominately American Meuse-Argonne Offensive, which forced the surrender of the German army. This single battle remains the deadliest in American history.
Returning to the story, I describe waking up on Armistice Day in the French town of Stenay, which had been liberated by my grandfather and his regiment on the morning of the original Armistice in 1918. I tell of the 15-kilometer drive to the American cemetery that morning and how the day played out as one of the most emotional and meaningful days of my life. It was a day of Saluting America’s World War I Heroes.
-Jeffrey A. Lowdermilk