Centennial Commemoration of the Battle of Cantigny


On Memorial Day, Deputy Consul General of France in Chicago, Frédéric Cholé, joined the Centennial Commemoration of The Battle of Cantigny (May 28, 1918), the first offensive major battle American forces fought in World War I. The all-day event took place at the 1st Division Museum at Cantigny Park in Wheaton (IL).

The village of Cantigny, located at about 60 miles from Paris in Northern France in the Picardy region, was the epicenter of the first large offensive operation by an American division during World War One. On May, 28th, 1918, the First Division, with the support of the French army, led the attack. The enemy resistance was heavy but a few hours later all objectives were seized, yet, the battle continued for three days. The success of this operation marks a crucial step for the advance of the Allied forces in Europe and towards the final victory.

The village was completely destroyed and the American troops suffered many casualties. Among the four thousands American soldiers deployed in Cantigny, over one thousand men were killed or wounded. More than four hundred of them rest in France in the American military cemetery of the Somme.

One of its heroes and commanding officers is Colonel Robert McCormick of Chicago. He left for Europe as a war correspondent for the Tribune in 1915 and later joined the Illinois National Guard. His experience at Cantigny left a lasting impact on his life and legacy. He renamed his estate located in Wheaton (IL) Cantigny in memory of the historic battle, and the men he served with. Robert R. McCormick, eventually became the publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The First Division Museum was first open at Cantigny in 1960.

The 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Cantigny was also commemorated in France.
Over 400 people attended the event including representatives of the Robert McCormick Foundation, servicemen from the First Division, high school students from Wyoming in Native American costume. The bi-national military ceremony rededicating the 1919 Battlefield monument at at its new location in the center of the village of Cantigny was the highlight of the commemoration.

4 petits secrets de la commémoration de la bataille de Cantigny. — (Le Courier picard - 26 mai 2018)

Read more:

Wheaton’s Cantigny Park commemorates 100-year-old battle
(abc7 Chicago - May 20, 2018) — U.S. forces fought their first major battle in World War I exactly 100 years ago. It was the Battle of Cantigny: a small French village where 746 First Division soldiers would ultimately lose their lives.
Today, a century later and an ocean away, people gathered in a Wheaton Park to remember and celebrate the lives of those who fought at Cantigny... (read more)


100 years ago today, Cantigny Park’s namesake battle brings America seriously into World War I
(Daily Herald, May 28, 2018) — With its military museum and collection of tanks, Cantigny Park is one of the most appropriate places to observe Memorial Day. The ceremonies on the grounds of the Wheaton campus will take on added meaning today as the First Division Museum pays special tribute to the soldiers who fought 100 years ago in the Battle of Cantigny during World War I... (read more)

100 years ago: Battle of Cantigny - America shows its mettle
(Centenary News, May 20, 2018) — On the morning of 28 May 1918 troops belonging to the American Expeditionary Force’s 1st Division embarked on the first full US-led offensive of the First World War at Cantigny in northern France. Although the assault was a limited one, and of comparatively minor significance in overall strategic terms for the Allies, its success was an important psychological boost for Pershing’s forces... (read more)


Deputy Consul General of France Frédéric Cholé pays tribute to the men who fought during the Battle of Cantigny. "It is our duty to remember" he said during the official ceremony.


Last modified on 30/05/2018

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