Once again, the Fayette County Genealogical Society opened its season with the first program being presented by local historian Paul LaRue on Monday March 20.
LaRue’s program, entitled “Honoring Those Who Made The Ultimate Sacrifice: The World War I Burial Project,” was the story of our United States troops who served and lost their lives in World War I and were buried primarily in Belgium and France. LaRue told of how the families of these lost soldiers who were buried in Europe were given the choice to leave their loved buried where they were or to bring them home to the United States to be reburied. Some 46,000 soldiers were brought home to the United States for burial.
The American Cemetery System assisted in bringing the soldiers home. For the families who chose to leave their fallen family members in Europe, the American Battle Monument Commission maintains the graves. There are also Memorial Tablets maintained for those soldiers who could not be found. Families in in the commutes where American soldiers are buried have adopted their gravesites and maintain them as well. During World War I, Gold Star Mothers and Wives was created as an organization to assist the surviving families of fallen soldiers. Gold Star Tours were taken by family members to visit the gravesites of their family members after the war until they had to be discontinued due to the problems erupting in Europe that led to WWII. During those tours, family members often met the local people who maintained their loved one’s grave. As always, it was a very interesting and well received program by LaRue
LaRue is a retired social studies teacher from the Washington Court House City Schools, he is the education co-chair of America 250 in Ohio that is planning the 250th birthday of our nation in 2026, and he is the president of the Ohio State Board of Education.
In attendance at the meeting was special guest Tammy Puff, director of Military And Veterans Relations for Governor Mike DeWine. The Society enjoyed visiting with Puff and thanks LaRue for inviting her.
The next meeting of the Society will be held Monday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in the downstairs meeting room of the Economic Development Building at 101 E. East St. in Washington Court House. Steve Branan will be presenting “The Battles of Lexington and Concord, the Beginning of the Revolutionary War.” Branan will be dressed in authentic militia man attire of the era which will add much to his program. You won’t want to miss this program.
For additional information concerning this meeting, society membership, our lineage societies, or research, please contact Sue Gilmore, president, at 614-8649609 or [email protected],or Cathy Massie White, lineage chair, at 740-333-7227 or [email protected], or Peggy Lester at 740-495-5720 or [email protected].