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General of the Armies John Pershing Honored in Annual Veterans Day Ceremony

By Elizabeth Mathews
Staff Writer

Pershing ceremony Vets Day 2016 cropMembers of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and attendees wait to place wreaths during a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Va. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery)At 3’o clock on November 11, veterans carried on an annual Veteran’s Day tradition by gathering at the grave of America’s first General of the Armies, John J. “Black Jack” Pershing for a memorial service in his honor.

This ceremony was open to the public and attended by US servicemen and women as well as those from allied nations such as Canada. Also in attendance were members of the Young Marines.

Remarks were provided by such notable leaders as Kate Kelley, Acting Superintendent Arlington National Cemetery, Maj. Gen. Bradley A. Becker, commanding general, US Army Military District of Washington, and Col. (ret.) Clay Le Grande, Jr., commander in chief, MOWW. After the remarks, wreaths were laid at Pershing’s grave to honor both him and the men he commanded.

Pershing served in several conflicts over his 38 year career, though he is most remembered for his service as the Commander of the American Expeditionary Force in the Great War. Pershing not only led the United States to victory during the Great War, but also revolutionized the practices of the US Army. Under his leadership, the US Army updated its military training techniques, put more emphasis on physical fitness, and created professional schools for officers.

Two organizations founded by Pershing himself were heavily involved in the ceremony. The US Army Band “Pershing’s Own” provided the service with music, including one of Pershing’s personal favorite songs “My Buddy”.

The Military Order of the World Wars was the main organizer of the event, as it has been since the Veterans of World War I became too few to do so. The Military Order of the World Wars, or MOWW, was created at Pershing’s request after he expressed the desire for his officers to continue to serve their country after being released from active duty.

The members of MOWW have carried out this mission since the organization's inception by always striving to live by the Order’s motto, “It is more noble to serve than to be served”.


Elizabeth Mathews is a Fall 2016 Summer Interns at the World War One Centennial Commission.


 1000w q90Attendees listen to speakers during a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Va. The memorial service and wreath laying, organized by MOWW, took place at Pershing’s graveside. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery/) 1000w q91The Joint Armed Forces Color Guard participates in a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Va. The memorial service and wreath laying, organized by MOWW, took place at Pershing’s graveside. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery/) 1000w q92The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own” provides music for a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing organized by The Military Order of the World Wars in Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Va. The memorial service and wreath laying took place at Pershing’s graveside. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery) 1000w q95U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Bradley A. Becker, Commanding General of Joint Force Headquarters-National Capital Region and U.S. Army Military District of Washington, gives remarks during a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Va. The memorial service and wreath laying, organized by The Military Order of the World Wars, took place at Pershing’s graveside. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery) 1000w q96Attendees listen to speakers during a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Va. The memorial service and wreath laying, organized by MOWW, took place at Pershing’s graveside. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery) 1000w q97A member of the U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” plays Taps during a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Va. The memorial service and wreath laying, organized by MOWW, took place at Pershing’s graveside. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery) 1000w q98Members of the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) and representatives from the Embassy of France wait to place wreaths during a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Va. The memorial service and wreath laying, organized by MOWW, took place at Pershing’s graveside. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery) 1000w q99Alfred Shehab, veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, lays a wreath during a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing in Arlington National Cemetery, Nov. 11, 2016, in Arlington, Va. The memorial service and wreath laying, organized by MOWW, took place at Pershing’s graveside. (U.S. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery)

 

 

 

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