Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pennsylvania War Memorial . . .

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Moving right along, going back to those November days last Fall spent exploring the area around Verdun. The same afternoon I visited the American cemetery at Romagne sous Montfaucon, reported on just a couple of posts down here, I stumbled purely by chance on a monument in the tiny village of Nantillois erected by the State of Pennsylvania to honor the dead from Pennsylvania who were part of the American Expeditionary Force units fighting in the Meuse-Argonne offensive. Although I grew up and went to school in Pennsylvania, I'd never heard of this monument. Live and learn . . .
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The sculpture depicts elements from the Pennsylvania state seal . . . a ship, a plow, and three sheaves of wheat . . .
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I'm thinking the red berry bearing plants were chosen to symbolize the blood that flowed near here. Nantillois was the jumping off point for the attacks on German positions on 4 October, 1918.
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Immediately adjacent to the monument this old house was for sale. I'm not sure if it would have been standing already back in 1918, but from the upstairs window there (just one ?), a good view of the monument could be had . . . imho they scrimped on windows just a bit.
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On another building just up the street this ancient sign was visible. One can just make out across the top "Ameublement" or Furniture, and near the bottom it says "Verdun". Well weathered in any case . . .
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16 comments:

The Sagittarian said...

There's really something very powerful about War memorials, don't you think? I also photographed one while away this week up North! Great minds and all that...didn't find us a pub but found a new hideaway!

Laurie said...

Fascinating memorial, Owen. Quite unusual to be region specific. Laurie

Laurie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

War memorials have such a quiet and yet profound impact. As indeed they should.

the watercats said...

i find that house sort of intrigueing, why so few windows?.. and those horses on the memorial are just magnificent! ar horses if ever there were any. There's something more poignant to me though in the pictures below this post, a very tangible example of gone..

Stickup Artist said...

Isn't that something? A war memorial built by the state of PA in France! I love the creamy mottled buttery color of the war memorial and the house. Now I know where all the American interior decorators are drawing their inspiration.

How can a monument to such chaos translate into such a peaceful, balanced scene? Is there hope for us yet? I love the planter with the red berries.

The iron work around the house is so delicate. If you could just stick a few more windows in it...

Dedene said...

The memorial was a surprise. The house must have been built when there was a tax on windows.

TechnoBabe said...

You find such interesting things over in France, and they are interesting to the French as well as the Americans.

Deborah said...

As Laurie said, quite extraordinary that this was not a national but a state memorial. See the words American Expeditionary Forces brought back memories. My American grandfather was with the AEF from 1916-1918 (I think) as a driver, and I still have all his maps of northern France from that time.

I am drawn to war memorials too - such beautiful, terrible places.

Catherine said...

the strangest of monuments seem to turn up in the strangest of places...interesting post...

louciao said...

What a strange coincidence that a fellow from Pennsylvania, living in a foreign land, would happen to stumble upon a memorial built to honour the souls from his home state who died in a war of particular fascination to the lad. Some sort of soul recognition or energy congruence that drew him there?

A handsome, beautifully designed war memorial. Peaceful and solemn, and yet full of life in its warm hues.

The house looks charming. Wouldn't be too much trouble to knock a few more windows in upstairs, though I'm not sure I'd want to be looking out at a war memorial day in and day out.

Clytie said...

It looks like it is well maintained. I wonder who takes care of this beautiful monument?

My grandfather was also in this war. He never ever talked about it. Now I wish he had.

Nevine said...

You know... that little house... you know I would buy it... you know why... the whole writer's den thing... it's one of my dreams my fantasies my wishes... I always find an incarnation of those wishes right here. And the memorial... always sad to view the photos... always sad to think of the fallen... and humbling and a reminder - yes - a reminder for us to treasure every moment in life... because every moment is to be cherished.

And I see I missed your "Stop" post below, again. Why do I miss your posts? Are you posting every hour? Every minute? Are you posting when I'm not looking? I'm tired. Can't wait for the school year to be over. 2 1/2 more weeks to go... Ah! I dream of it. I'll go see what happened there (below), and I'll leave my thoughts...

Nevine

Nathalie said...

Not sure I'd want to live in that house. I wonder if it survived the war? I'd be tempted to think it was rebuilt afterwards, perhaps on the foundations of an older one?

Owen said...

Hey Everyone,
Was out all day today roaming around northern France, but have just been reading with fascination all of your comments here... Yes, no doubt some strange force of attraction led my wandering feet to this very spot. I wonder how many other states actually put up their own overseas monuments...

Deep thank you's to each and every one, your insights never fail to illuminate me, your radiant warmth never fails to warm this bactrian heart...

James said...

What a neat find. I've aways been interested in WWI and now I'm very interested in Pennsylvania too. That house is pretty amazing too.