21st TSC Soldiers take part in Memorial Day ceremony in France

Story and photos by Angelika Lantz
21st TSC Public Affairs

ROMAGNE-SOUS-MONTFAUCON, France ― It was a Memorial Day to remember. Beneath a brilliant blue sky, nearly 50 Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s Special Troops Battalion participated in the Memorial Day ceremony May 29 at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial here. 

Maj. Gen. Patricia E. McQuistion, commander of the 21st TSC, spoke of the importance of celebrating Memorial Day and honoring the heroes of current and past conflicts. 

“As we commemorate the fallen resting here, we are reminded how great a debt of gratitude we owe.  Each headstone is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices of the selfless men and women who found the extraordinary courage to serve, to do battle, and to die for generations of people not yet born,” she said.

During the ceremony the Soldiers formed a color guard, an honor guard and an honor platoon. Afterward, they left with a kaleidoscope of impressions. Many expressed their surprise and gratitude at the size of the event.

“I really did not expect the cemetery and the ceremony to be this big and impressive. To see all the people who attended and participated and all the flowers they brought is really remarkable.  It’s humbling. I am very glad I came,” said Spc. Amanda Rigdon, a training clerk with the 21st TSC Headquarters and Headquarters Company.

Others were impressed with the cemetery’s size and the immaculate sea of headstones, all of which were adorned with a French and an American flag.  

“I never thought a cemetery could be so beautiful, so breathtaking and perfect in its serenity,” said Pfc. Angel Hunter, a paralegal specialist at the 21st TSC’s Office of the Staff Judge Advocate. “This is an event that I will never forget. I was a little nervous beforehand, but never realized how much of an honor it actually is to have been selected to lay a wreath here.”

The Meuse-Argonne cemetery covers about 130 acres and is the resting place of 14,246 fallen Soldiers — the largest number of American military dead in Europe, most of whom died during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I.

“It was spectacular how everyone came together, the participants and the attendees from two countries. I am so impressed. I truly like it,” said Pfc. Alice Colin with the supply section of the 21st TSC’s HHQ.

After the ceremony, the citizens of the Meuse-Argonne area once again expressed their gratitude — eagerly and joyously. As the Soldiers marched from the cemetery to a reception at the nearby village, they were accompanied by applause every step of the way.

“They clapped and cheered us, wherever we went, everywhere we walked by,” Private Hunter said. It was completely awesome.”