ARMISTICE DAY [NOV. 11, 1918] – FOR GRANDDAD AND THE NATION’S VETERANS
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The Guns of August 1914 fell silent at 11 A.M., on the 11th Day, of the 11th Month, of 1918 -- Armistice Day.
My grandfather, John Thornton Knight, Jr., was a Teutonic knight. He was born in the Oklahoma Indian Territory in 1894. His father was an 1884 graduate of West Point and a veteran of four wars. His two grandfathers were cavalry officers in the American Civil War. Granddad was “born to the blue.”
After high school, Granddad was a Yosemite National Park ranger for three years. (He remembered John Muir.) In 1914, he was appointed to West Point. Because of World War I, his class graduated a year early, in August 1917. Granddad was commissioned a lieutenant in the field artillery. Within months, he was in France.
On September 12, 1918, the American Expeditionary Force launched a major offensive against the “St. Mihiel salient.” I vividly recall Granddad’s detailed descriptions of the battle.
For extraordinary heroism at St. Mihiel, Granddad was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. (Only the Medal of Honor is higher.)
Despite the grievous wounds he sustained in the Great War, Granddad was back in uniform for the Second World War, this time serving in the combat engineers.
I was 40 when my grandfather died. He was a surrogate father during the years that Dad was called away by the naval service. I was twice blessed. These were virtuous men.
Shown are Granddad (age 22) at West Point (in 1916); Granddad (age 90) and his grandson (in 1984); and my grandparents’ grave at Arlington National Cemetery (they were married 71 years).
I salute the nation’s veterans, past and present, and their families. I am truly grateful.
As always, thanks for stopping by!
Also by Richard Knight
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