Page 3717


with the cross of the cordon of the Legion

of Honor, General Pershing holding the

cross to his lips before passing it back

to the governor. This was the most

signal honor France ever bestowed upon

any man. Before this occasion not even

a Frenchman ever was permitted to hold

the historic relics in his hands. Kings

and princes have been taken to the crypt

that holds the body of the

great Emperor, but they only

viewed the sword and cross

through the plate glass of the

'case in which they rest. The

relics had not been touched

since the time of Louis


On the morning of June 15,

General Joffre, hero of the

Marne, and General Pershing

stood bare-headed on the balcony of the Military Club before an immense crowd filling

the Place de l'Opera. Their

appearance together excited

great enthusiasm. "Vive Joffre, who saved us from defeat!

Vive Pershing, who brings us

victory!" cried an excited

French girl in the street. The

crowd took it as a good omen

and burst into applause which

did not cease until long after

the two generals had withdrawn from sight.

General Pershing also visited President Poincare, the

French Chamber of Deputies,

and the French Senate, but

perhaps the most touching of

all the ceremonies connected

with his reception was his visit to the tomb

of Lafayette. With him he took a huge

wreath of American Beauty roses with

which to honor the memory of the man

who more than a century before had crossed

stormy seas to fight for liberty in America.

The service was very simple and very brief

but tremendously impressive. With a

few officers of his staff General Pershing

motored to the cemetery where he was

received only by the Marquis and the

Count de Chambrun, lineal descendants

of America's benefactor. The Marquis

spoke a brief welcome, to which General

Pershing replied in a sentence which was

caught up both in America and in France

because it summed up the immortal past

and the hope of the future. It was, "Lafayette, we are here."

The welcome to Pershing and to the

troops that followed him was in part

stage-managed by the French Government.

The failure of the offensive in April had

greatly depressed French spirits, and the

Government was anxious to emphasize

the coming of American aid in order to

restore French confidence and morale.

It must not be supposed, however, that

the greeting was lacking in spontaneous

enthusiasm. In fact, the French welcome

was so warm that some of "our officers