American Legion Paris Post 1

Armistice & Veterans Day Speech

Paris Post 1

Lafayette Escadrille Memorial


Nov 11, 2022

Speech by Bryan Schell


I am truly honored to be here today to represent Paris Post 1 of The American Legion, and to commemorate the 104th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended WWI.


I would like to thank the American Battle Monuments Commission, and Superintendent Keith Stadler and his staff, for their extraordinary work in ensuring the preservation of this historic and beautiful monument.


As some of you may know, the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial honors the American volunteer pilots who flew with French squadrons during World War I. 


The Lafayette Escadrille Memorial commemorates the birthplace of American combat aviation, and it is a symbol of a French and American collaboration that continues to shine bright to this very day.


Built in 1928, the Lafayette Escadrille Memorial was constructed on land donated by the country of France, and with money given by many, including the families of the Lafayette Escadrille pilots and members of Paris Post 1.


This dedication to ensuring a proper memorial for the sacrifices of those World War I heroes was a tremendous success, enshrining within it an international bond forged in duty, respect and honor.


For almost 100 years now, this cemetery has provided the Franco-American community, and the many organizations dedicated to keeping the memories of those sacrifices alive, a place to have our ceremonies to honor those who gave their lives for their countries.


Today is a reminder of how great countries and international communities can come together to preserve the memory and history of our loved ones who serve in the Armed Forces.


For those of us who have served in the military and have returned to civilian life, we all know that our military experiences, our service and our duties, never truly end.


Our service and duty to our communities and countries is a chapter of our lives that will never end, it is something that stays with us forever.


Even when we take off our military uniforms, and are no longer on active duty, our patriotism and responsibility for our country continues to grow.


I ask everyone to never forget. 


I ask you to honor the selfless sacrifice of all who defended France 104 years ago, and fought to end World War I.


As we commemorate all of the men and women who gave their lives during World War I in France, let us also honor and keep in our prayers all those who are currently serving to defend freedom around the world.  


While today we rejoice and honor the service of our military and veterans, we should also remember the wise words of General Douglas MacArthur. 


“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace.”