On the morning of October 25, 1921 the train carrying the World War I Unknown Soldier arrived at Le Havre and was met by French officials, troops and citizens of Le Havre who had gathered to pay homage to the Unknown Soldier. Escorted by French and U.S. troops, the solemn procession of the Unknown Soldier, adorned with floral tributes, moved through the city of Le Havre to the pier where the U.S. cruiser USS Olympia, Admiral George Dewey’s flagship during the battle of Manila Bay, awaited with her U.S. flags at half-mast to receive the precious cargo she was to return home to the U.S.
Here, with ceremonies befitting the solemn occasion, Andre Maginot spoke on behalf of the French government and pinned the Crois de Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur upon the flag draped casket next to a spray of white roses.Upon the completion of the rendering of honors, the USS Olympia band played Chopin’s “Funeral March” as the Unknown Soldier was transferred from US Army control to the US Navy, and Sailors form the Olympia carefully carried him aboard the ship with all appropriate military honors of a distinguish visitor embarking onto a naval vessel. The casket was placed on the flower decked stern of the USS Olympia for the long difficulty journey home.
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