Sunday, July 5, 2009

"Glorious" Fourth

The Saratogian: Local soldiers’ valor on display in Great War
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Spa City knows how to celebrate the stars and stripes as well as any place in America.

One of the grandest displays in its history took place when local “doughboys” returned home from fighting overseas in World War I.
The story of Coyne’s uncle, James E. Coyne, of Rensselaer, was one of the war’s most poignant. A U.S. Marine Corps private, he was wounded at Belleau Wood. On Nov. 11, 1918, the world celebrated the end of hostilities. Three days later, Coyne’s family was notified that his wounds had proved fatal.

"The Battle of Belleau Wood (1 June 1918 – 26 June 1918) occurred during the German 1918 Spring Offensive in World War I, near the Marne River in France." - The Battle of Belleau Wood, 1918
Second Division's Marine Corps, under James Harbord, were tasked with the taking of the wood. This perilous venture involved a murderous trek across an open wheat field, swept from end to end by German machine gun fire, a fact that continues to generate controversy today among some historians.

As a consequence of the open nature of the advance on the wood, casualties on the first day, 6 June, were the highest in Marine Corps history ...

The battle ran from 6-26 June and by its end saw U.S. forces suffer 9,777 casualties, of which 1,811 were fatal.

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