A great historical American Legion Paris Post landmark not far from the Arc de Triomphe.
General John J. Pershing
General of the Armies John Joseph Pershing (September 13, 1860 – July 15, 1948) was a senior United States Army officer. His most famous post was when he served as the commander of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) on the Western Front in World War I, 1917–18.
Senate Bill 2917
A hearing before a subcommittee of the Committee on Military Affairs, United States Senate, Seventy-Fourth Congress, First Session on S. 2917 was held on June 7, 1935. A bill authorizing an appropriation to the American Legion for its use in effecting a settlement of the remainder due on, and the reorganization of, Pershing Hall, a memorial already erected in Paris, France, to the Commander in Chief, Officers, and men of the expeditionary forces.
The House of Representatives passed H.R. 154 February 5, 1991. The Act in General states; Pershing Hall, an existing memorial in Paris, France, owned by the United States, together with the personal property of such memorial, is hereby placed under the jurisdiction, custody, and control of the Department of Veterans Affairs so that the memorial to the commander-in-chief, officers, men, and auxiliary services of the American Expeditionary Forces in France during World War I may be continued in an appropriate manner and financial support be provided therefor.
In the presence of the French and American government officials and other dignitaries who attended the dedication ceremonies, both Past National Commander McNutt and General Pershing expressed the sentiment that the building would be a bond of common interest between France and the United States.
General Pershing said: "If The American Legion is a powerhouse of friendship and kindness, then this building is its greatest substation, from which will flow a steady current of understanding. And I hope that our French friends will ever feel that this building is their home as it is our home." Published in The American Legion Monthly May 1930.
Prior Tenants at Pershing Hall:
The American Legion Department of France http://www.amerlegiondeptfrance.org/
The American Legion Paris Post 1 http://www.parispost1.com/
American Battlefield Monuments Commission https://www.abmc.gov/
The American Legion Ladies Auxiliary https://www.alaforveterans.org/
The American Club of Paris https://www.americanclubparis.org/
The American Women’s Group https://www.awgparis.org/
Association of American Residents Overseas https://aaro.org/
Association of American Wives of Europeans https://www.aaweparis.org/
Veterans of Foreign Wars https://www.vfw.org/
The United Services Organization https://www.uso.org/
The Embassy of Switzerland https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/france/en/home.html
Frequent users of the memorial rooms:
Reserve Officers Association https://www.roa.org/
American Overseas Memorial Day Association http://www.aomda.com/
French Veterans Organizations https://frenchwarveterans.com/
The American College in Paris https://www.aup.edu/
The University of Maryland https://www.umd.edu/
Schiller University https://www.schiller.edu/paris/
Common Cause https://www.commoncause.org/
Boy Scouts of America http://www.troop112.scoutlander.com/publicsite/unitcustom.aspx?UID=18158&CUSTOMID=68121
The American School https://www.asparis.org/
Democrats Abroad https://www.democratsabroad.org/fr
Republicans Abroad https://www.republicansoverseasfrance.com/
The Council on International Student Exchange (CIEE) https://www.ciee.org/
History of the ABMC
Following World War I, Congress recognized the need for federal control over the commemoration of American armed forces overseas. On March 4, 1923, President Warren Harding signed legislation that established the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) and made the new agency responsible for the construction of monuments honoring the American Expeditionary Forces. Soon after, Congress directed ABMC to construct memorial chapels in the eight permanent military cemeteries in Europe, which were at the time maintained by the War Department. In 1934, President Franklin Roosevelt issued an Executive Order that shifted the responsibility for the management and maintenance of these hallowed grounds to ABMC.
General of the Armies John J. Pershing was appointed to the newly-formed ABMC in 1923 by President Warren G. Harding, and was elected chairman by the other members. He served as chairman for 25 years until his death in 1948.
He was succeeded by Gen. George C. Marshall. Following Gen. Marshall's death in 1959, Gen. Jacob L. Devers became chairman. He was succeeded by Gen. Mark W. Clark in 1969. Gen. Clark died in 1984, and Gen. Andrew J. Goodpaster was elected the following year. Gen. P. X. Kelley succeeded Gen. Goodpaster in 1991. Gen. Frederick F. Woerner became chairman in 1994. Gen. Kelley returned to ABMC in August 2001, succeeding Gen. Woerner. In 2005, Gen. Frederick M. Franks, Jr., assumed the chairmanship, and served until January 2009. Gen. Merrill A. McPeak was elected chairman in June 2011, and served until January 2018. David Urban was appointed chairman in July 2018.
The following excerpts and information obtained from:
The Spirit of Pershing Hall, Charles S. Hart, Elks Magazine, January 1932, page 55.
Dedication ceremony in 1932 Mayor Latour of Paris, President Doumer of France, U.S. Ambassador Edge, and Colonel Francis Drake.
Colonel Francis Drake was Chief of Staff for General Charles G. Dawes during the war.
General Pershing and former Ambassador Herrick named the building the “American Embassy of Good Will.”
“Lawrence Benet, one of the best organized brains in Europe, the inventor of the Hotchkiss machine gun, made Pershing Hall the American social center of Paris.”
First Commander at Pershing Hall: Mr. Harjes of J.P. Morgan, Harjes & Company
Lower floor facing the street was the War Museum. The collection included the helmet and sword of General Dubail, captured German arms of every description, trench mortars, souvenirs of the Lafayette Escadrille, Sedley Peck’s old Bleriot propeller and a fine collection of Benjamin Franklin relics given through the courtesy of Bascom Slemp, the American Commissioner to the French Colonial Exposition.
Second floor facing the street, the Army Room containing oil portraits of General Pershing and Marshal Foch at one end, and enlarged photos of leading American generals on the walls of either side.
The Navy Room is equally impressive containing oil paintings of the fleet, Navy trophies and portraits of leading Naval Commanders.
The University of Virginia Memorial Room, sponsored by William A. Clark Jr. (from Virginia) was a reproduction of the 18th Century Salon in the Carnavalet Museum honoring the memory of men from Virginia. Hand carved oak throughout the room featuring murals, one of Monticello and the other of the University of Virginia campus. The charis of tooled leather contain the seals of the United States, of Virginia and of France. This is the headquarters for National Commanders of the Legion when in Paris.
The Herrick Salon is another beautiful room containing a portrait of Ambassador Herrick, with a bronze tablet in his memory.
Also there is the D.A.R. Room, The Y.M.C.A. Room, The Salvation Army Room, The Red Cross Room, The Knights of Columbus Room, The Masonic Room, The Jewish Welfare Room and the Marine Corps Room.
Elks Memorial Hall was a new addition built on with beautiful arched doorway leading from the main stairway. Designed in a classic style - ivory tinted and trimmed in gold. It is 49 feet in length, 24 feet wide, with 18 foot Doric columns supporting the panelled ceiling. ceiling, on the On the left, as you face the far end from the entrance, are large arched French windows opening onto balconies which overlook the courtyard.
On the opposite side are mirrored panels of similar design and size. The far end is symmetrically paneled for mural and tablet purposes.
At the end of the doorway is a balcony overlooking the hall - with a wrought iron railing containing a design of drums and trumpets in bronze. This balcony, Iarge enough to accommodate a twelve-piece orchestra, is also completely fireproofed for motion picture equipment.
Under the balcony are three doors leading to an ante-room, which in turn, is connected by elevator and stairs with a modern kitchen on the ground floor. The kitchen pantry and dining quarters are equipped to cater to several hundred people. This hall is also used by the Elks as their unofficial lodge room, as well as lectures, musical recitals and other social affairs. This wing was built with a donation of $30,000 (circa 1930) from the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.
On the main floor, under the Elks Memorial Hall, was the real club room of Pershing Hall where the billiard and bowling alleys were located. On the top floor of the new wing, there was a modern gymnasium, equipped with squash and handball courts, and the finest gym equipment. This was sponsored by the Loyal Order of Moose.
The cornerstone of the new building, which can be seen from the interior courtyard, is the identical keystone of the old Château-Thierry bridge which spanned the Marne at the point where the American troops turned the tide of the German advance on Paris. Certainly fitting cornerstone for Pershing Hall.
Princeton University is on its walls in memory of Princeton men who fell in battle. There are Princeton Legionnaires in Paris who foregather in Pershing Hall with other legions of every school and college. Why not adopt "Auld Lang Syne," or the music of their college hymn to words of Pershing Hall? I’m quite sure that Princeton would not care in that far off Iand, even if the words were adopted by a legionnaire from Yale.
Tune every heart and every voice,
No matter what befall,
Let all with one accord rejoice,
In praise of Pershing Hall.
And when the wall in dust are laid,
And pass beyond recall,
Another throng will breathe our song,
In praise of Pershing Hall.
Till then with joy our song we'll bring,
Come join us one and all,
Let Legionnaires unite and sing,
Long life to Pershing Hall!
Plaques (8) inside Pershing Hall include:
1. Pershing Hall Dedication Plaque - In the entryway of Pershing Hall right next to the reception desk on the right. Plaque A bronze plaque with black lettering memorializing General John J. Pershing and the hall subsequently named for him.
Dedicated to the Memory of
John J. Pershing
General of the Armies of
The United States of America
World War I 1917-1918
2. American Legion - In the dining room area of Pershing Hall on the ground floor. Plaque A plaque commemorating Pershing Hall as a living memorial to General John J. Pershing.
Pershing Hall of The American Legion
A living memorial to the memory of John J. Pershing
General of the Armies of the United States of America
World War I 1917-1918
3. Paul Doumer President of the Republic of France 1929 - In the dining room area of Pershing Hall on the ground floor. Plaque A white granite plaque with gold lettering commemorating French President Paul Doumer's dedication of Pershing Hall in 1929.
Pershing Hall Memorial Building
Dedicated October 1929
By Paul Doumer
President of the Republic of France
4. Myron Herrick Ambassador to France (1932) - On the second floor of Pershing Hall in the hallway between the bar area on the left and the conference room on the right. Plaque A plaque put up for Myron T. Herrick, Governor of Ohio and U.S. Ambassador to France.
This room is dedicated to the memory of Myron T. Herrick and to the friendship between France and the United States by his friends in his native village of Wellington in Cleveland and in the state of Ohio which he served as Governor. The names of those participating in the creation of this memorial are recorded in a golden book as a permanent record of the affection and esteem of his own people for their illustrious friend.
Andrew Squire, Chairman
Newton D. Baker
Chester C. Bolton
John A. Penton
Dudley J. Hard
John H. Dexter, Treasurer
Dale Brown, Secretary
5. Yale University - On the second floor of Pershing Hall immediately to the right of the elevator in an alcove. Plaque A large plaque commemorating the sacrifice of Yale graduates who served in WWI.
To honor the two hundred and twenty seven men of Yale University who gave their lives in service of the nation in the World War.
Shall not earth live the fairer for their sake who are dead -not ashes- nor any sorrow be borne for such as they-give them the golden morrow they dwelt in yesterday seeing our days inherit what joys they dared forego surely they see and share it surely they know- they know
AD MCMXIX George H Snowden
6. Princeton University
7. New York AEF Tablet - On the third floor of Pershing Hall immediately to the right of the elevator in an alcove. Plaque A large bronze tablet honor the sacrifices of citizens from the City of New York who fought and died with the AEF in WWI. It also lists both Army and Navy Medal of Honor winners.
This tablet is erected by Colonel Michael Friedsam A citizen of the city of New York. In honor of her two hundred and twenty eight thousand sons who served in the American Expeditionary Forces and in perpetual remembrance of the eight thousand one hundred and forty two who gave their lives for their country.
Can, Tedford Harris
Janson, Ernest August
Bart, Frank J.
Call, Donald M.
Colyer, Wilbur E.
McMurtry, George G.
O'Neill, Richard W.
O'Shea, Thomas E.
Wickersham, J. Hunter
"That Liberty Shall Not Perish From The Earth"
8. Chateau Thierry Cornerstone - In the dining room of Pershing Hall on the ground floor. Plaque A plaque set on the keystone set into the wall of the dining room in Pershing Hall.
This keystone taken from the bridge destroyed at Chateau-Thierry, here laid in August of 1928, with appropriate ceremonies by Paul V. McNutt, National Commander of the American Legion, as the foundation stone to this Pershing Hall Memorial Building.
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