Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus announced that the County’s Veterans Service Agency (VSA) will hold a ceremony at 10 a.m. on Friday, September 29 to honor the 40 County residents who died more than 100 years ago on the same day during World War I.
The event, known as “Orange County Veterans Memorial Day,” will be held at the County’s Veterans Memorial Cemetery, located at 111 Craigville Road in Goshen. The 40 Orange County residents served in Companies E and L of the 107th Regiment of the 27th Division and perished during the Battle of the Hindenburg Line in Northern France.
The ceremony is open to the public. The event will include the unveiling of a new memorial monument with the names of the Orange County residents who died on that fateful day. Major Jacob Morris, a history instructor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, will serve as guest speaker.
“The Battle of the Hindenburg Line is one of the most famous engagements that occurred during World War I,” Neuhaus said. “We will never forget the sacrifices that these 40 soldiers made in defense of the freedoms we all enjoy each day in America and here in Orange County. This ceremony is a fitting tribute for these World War I heroes.”
After an intense 56-hour-long attack, Allied forces breached the Hindenburg Line, the last line of German defenses on the Western Front during World War I, on September 29, 1918. The Hindenburg Line was a heavily fortified zone running several miles behind the active front between the north coast of France and Belgium. By September 1918, the Hindenburg Line consisted of six defensive lines approximately 6,000 yards deep, equipped with lengths of barbed wire, concrete emplacements and firing positions.
Breaking through the Hindenburg Line helped the U.S. and its allies win World War I, which ended on November 11, 1918.
“Men and women from Orange County have proudly stepped up to serve our country for a long time,” Orange County VSA Director Christian Farrell said. “September 29, 1918 serves as one of the darkest days of our County’s history because of the loss of so many local soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice that same day. Whether it is nearly a century ago, or just a few months ago, we will always remember our fallen heroes.”