US troops in Europe celebrate Veterans Day 100 years after entering Great War
November 9, 2017
WIESBADEN, Germany — One hundred years after U.S. troops entered Europe as part of the Allied Expeditionary Force in World War I, and 99 years after an armistice ended that war, U.S. troops still on the continent paid tribute to those who have served with a ceremony Thursday in Wiesbaden.
Germans, other allied officers and civilian employees joined in the observance, held on Clay Kaserne in Wiesbaden, home to U.S. Army Europe headquarters. Starting in the afternoon and with the German late-autumn sun quickly receding, the ceremony featured the lowering of U.S. and German flags, and the firing of a ceremonial blank artillery round.
Brig. Gen. Kate Leahy, USAREUR deputy commanding general for mobilization and reserve affairs, said that even though nearly a century has passed between that armistice and the present, many things remain constant.
“Then, as now, soldiers served alongside each other as comrades in arms,” she said. “Then, as now, U.S. forces and allies and partners worked to ensure a Europe that is free, prosperous and at peace.”
That peace following the so-called “Great War” was short-lived. An even more destructive war followed only a year after Veterans’ Day, then called Armistice Day, became an official federal holiday in 1938. Leahy quoted a remark by Gen. Mark Clark, who fought in both world wars, at the conclusion of her remarks.
“If ever proof were needed that we fought for a cause and not for conquest, it can be found in these cemeteries,” he said. “All we asked for was enough soil in which to bury our gallant dead.”