Sillegny, France Monument to
U. S. 7th Armored Division Association Dead
Bookmark this page as
Last updated: October 19, 2009 - What's New?
Stuck in someone's frames? Click here to break out.

To the memory of the Americans of the 7th Armored Division
heroes of the Battle of Sillegny, 19-21 Sept. 1944
We Remember You

On September 19, 2009, a new monument was dedicated in ceremonies at Sillegny, France, as a memorial to the many men of the U. S. 7th Armored Division who fought in the town and its immediate vicinity. This web page contains information about those ceremonies.

  • Ceremony Announcement, Invitiation and Program
  • Remarks by Edward Kaminski, President, 7th Armored Division Association
  • Photographs of the Ceremonies
  • Links to other Sites about the Monument

  • Ceremony Announcement, Invitiation and Program
    Sillegny Invitation
    Sillegny Flier
    Click on an image to see it full size.
    Saturday, September 19
  • 4:00 pm: Ceremony and Monument Dedication
    in the presence of civil and military personnalities, flag bearers (including the flag of the 7th Armored that Billy Boles of A/23 gave to the French citizens) and many people.
  • 4:45 pm: Vin d'honneur (reception with champagne and snacks)
    An exhibition of photos of Sillégny before and after the war, with dummies clothed with Gi's equipment will take place there.
  • After the reception, dinner in honor of the liberators of the 7th Armored

    Days Before or After September 19
    The days after (or the days before) are fexible, according to the accomodations of the American guests:
  • a visit of the church of Sillégny is planned (this church is exceptional, one of the only churches in France to have authentic Italian frescoes, which cover all of the interior walls)
  • also a visit of the fort of Verny
  • a visit of the battlefield of Dornot-Corny, where the men of the 23 AIB fought
  • and a visit of the town of Metz.

  • Remarks by Edward Kaminski, President, 7th Armored Division Association

    Regretfully, due to health and financial reasons, no official representative of the 7th Armored Division Association was able to attend the ceremonies. However, Association President Edward Kaminski sent the following remarks which were read at the ceremonies by Elisabeth Gozzo.

    Remarks of Edward Kaminski,
    President of the U. S. 7th Armored Division Association,
    for the Dedication of the Memorial at Sillegny, France
    September 19, 2009

    Thank you to all who are here. I'd like to say also a special word of thanks for those who are responsible for this memorial, for those who researched the events and for those who conceived and designed the memorial and built it.

    Today, we are dedicating this memorial in memory of all the soldiers of the U. S. 7th Armored Division and attached elements who fought heroically in and around Sillegny. Sixty five years ago on this day, September 19, 1944, this peaceful place was the center of a brutal battle that took many American lives, that left many others suffering from wounds for the rest of their life, and that caused lasting grief and hardship in American families back in the United States.

    On that day sixty five years ago today, the Hell that is pictured on the frescoes of the walls within the church of Sillegny was a vivid reality outside those walls. War is indeed Hell on Earth. Those men who fought here knew that beyond any doubt. But their fight was to end that Hell, no matter the personal cost to themselves.

    In World War II, American soldiers left their family, friends and homes to help to defend freedom for the people of Europe. We are dedicating this memorial in memory of those men who fought here, so that all succeeding generations will know how great the sacrifices and devotion of those veterans were, and how precious freedom and peace are.

    Let me tell just two stories, so as to bring to life today, so many years later, the reality of what happened here on September 19, 1944.

    Private First Class (Pfc.) Louis Kay of Alicia, Arkansas attacked from the woods to the west. His Company C of the 38th Armored Infantry Battalion (C/38 AIB) attacked across the open field that is now between the rue de Neubourg and the D-67 road. This field had been heavily mined, and Louis Kay was seriously wounded when he set off a mine. His buddy Pfc. William Hennessey of North Tarrytown, New York moved to help him. 38 AIB medic Private (Pvt.) Elias Santillanes of Albuquerque, New Mexico also came to help.

    Sixty years later, in 2004, surviving C/38 veteran Hugh Hays of Effingham, Illinois told the rest of the story: “The enemy dropped one artillery shell behind them, killing both Hennessey and [Santillanes]. I saw it happen.” Louis Kay was also killed. And there the three men’s bodies remained, unburied, above ground, in a mine field too dangerous to permit recovery, exposed to further artillery, exposed to the elements of Nature. They were not recovered until 20 months later, in April 1946, after the mine field had finally been removed. Louis Kay now rests at St. Avold. William Hennessey and Elias Santiallanes rest at home.

    Also on that fateful day, September 19, 1944, Company A of the 38th Armored Infantry Battalion attacked from the woods toward Sillegny, along the south side of what is now the D-67 road. Staff Sergeant Peter Gorman, now of Odenton, Maryland, led his squad in the attack. A German soldier hid in a covered hole in the ground, and after S/Sgt. Gorman had passed by the hole, the German shot up at him. The bullet entered the right side of Peter Gorman’s back just above the belt line and traveled up through part of his kidney and other organs. To this day, the wound causes Peter Gorman pain. And the track of the bullet through his body is clearly visible in x-rays.

    These heroic American soldiers are among those you honor today and for all days that this memorial will stand. Constructed of materials that will survive the elements and the passage of time, the creators of this memorial have honored well the courage and sacrifice of those men.

    In our routine lives in an age of peace, it is easy to forget just how horrible things were. We fret about things that are trivial in comparison to the problems of 1944. Fifty years from now, some school child who has passed this memorial every day will stop and decide that it is time for him or her to know what this memorial is all about. And they will learn of the Hell that was here. I ask you to pause for a moment of silence, now and whenever you come to this memorial, in honor of those men who fought here to end that Hell. The world is a better place because of them.

    Photographs of the Ceremonies
    The following photographs and captions were provided by Elisabeth & Alain Gozzo.
    Many thanks to them for providing these -- and for the efforts to realize the monument.
    Click on an image to see it full size.
    Sillegny Photo
    1 - The Parade with the Brass Band
    Sillegny Photo
    2 - The Parade with the Flags
    Sillegny Photo
    3 - The Parade
    Sillegny Photo
    4 - The Parade
    Sillegny Photo
    5 - The Parade
    Sillegny Photo
    6 - Arriving at the Monument
    Sillegny Photo
    7 - Arriving at the Monument
    Sillegny Photo
    8 - The Dignitaries facing the Monument
    Sillegny Photo
    9 - The Sub-Prefect,the Consul of the USA, the Deputy, the Mayor, two Senators and a Regional Councillor
    Sillegny Photo
    10 - The Consul of the USA andf the Mayor of Sillegny unveiling the monument
    Sillegny Photo
    11 - The Monument
    Sillegny Photo
    12 - The history of the events, related by a member of the French military.
    Sillegny Photo
    13 - Elisabeth Gozzo reading the remarks of Mr. Edward Kaminski
    Sillegny Photo
    14 - Moment of Silence
    Sillegny Photo
    15 - Laying of wreaths by the sub-prefect and the Consul, the deputy and the Mayor
    Sillegny Photo
    16 - Again laying of a wreath
    Sillegny Photo
    17 - The Monument with the wreaths
    Sillegny Photo
    18 - The Speech of the Consul of the USA
    Sillegny Photo
    19 - The Dignitaries around the Monument
    Sillegny Photo
    20 - The Monument with the wreaths
    Sillegny Photo
    21 - The Monument with the wreaths
    Sillegny Photo
    22 - The sculptor, Mr. François Lorrain, with the Monument

    Links to other Sites about the Monument

  • Association Sillegny and the Lucky Seventh: French-language web site with many historic photos of Sillegny during and after WWII, as well as many photos of the ceremonies -- Click here for an automatic translation of the site into English.

    Click here for information about contacting me.

    7th Armored Division Web Site Main Page

    Active overview of all pages at the 7th Armored Division web site