On a cold, grey Bronx September day, an old man stood on the Courthouse plaza. His palsied hand reached out to touch the monument to his life’s sole drama. He’d just turned nineteen when the A.E.F. had been ordered to assist the French. Near Chateau-Thierry He helped hold the bridge without the safety of a trench. “We Marines fought like devil Dogs” He whispered softly to the rain. “The Germans came, wave after wave, but only the stars and stripes remained.” “Paris was spared and the foe was impressed by our Marine’s defiant dogged defense.” “My best friends died, but I survived to keep them in remembrance.” “We stopped the Germans at the Marne.” He felt an old familiar pain. Some might say that the old man cried, but he would say it was just the rain.
07/18/1918 American forces of the third division thwarted the German attempt to seize the Bridge at Chateau-Thierry. This combat success in their first action is considered by many historians to have been the turning point in the conflict. Since 1940 the keystone of the bridge they defended resides on the plaza of the Bronx courthouse with a small plaque explaining the significance of the stone. The incident recounted here took place in September of 1962.