Armistice Day – Finding William Digby Morgan

Throughout history, we have stories of discovery. I’m not talking about discoveries of the compass, electricity, or new lands, but the moments of epiphany, when men and women had moments of sudden revelation and insight.

I had my own just four weeks ago.

I was at the LSU (Louisiana State University) vs. Georgia game waiting for the game to start, and wanting to stretch my legs a little, I walked outside the Student Union. It’s a shady, cool area, covered with many oak trees. The perfect place to write, study, or enjoy nature.

As I walked around, I started to notice plaques under each oak tree. Plaques with names and dates that ended in 1918.

And it dawned on me. This was a memorial. A memorial to soldiers who had died in World War 1.

 

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First came a feeling of stillness, what this place was and what it stood for, and how proud I was that LSU had it. Then I was ashamed that in all the years I’d gone to football games, I’d never known this memorial was here — Memorial Oak Grove; thirty-one oak trees. Thirty-one plaques. One of them dedicated to an unknown solider missing in action.

 

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So, I walked through the grove again reading the names more carefully, silently thanking each man for paying the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom that I had that day. And that was when I came across the name of William Digby Morgan.

 

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I had the stray thought that maybe we were related, but that was closely followed by the thought that the chances of relation were slim, Morgan being such a common name. But I took a picture anyway and showed my mom, who is our family’s genealogist.

After a few days of searching my mom hit the gem. We were indeed related. William Digby Morgan is my third cousin four times removed.

 

20181013_115340.jpgWilliam Digby Morgan’s Oak Tree

A second lieutenant in the U.S. Army, William was killed in the Battle of Argonne, France, on November 10, 1918, one day before the Armistice was signed on November 11 ending World War I, a day which we will honor tomorrow.

Today one hundred years ago, my cousin died in France, and I want to pay tribute to him. He has no direct descendants, and no one seems to remember him. But I do, and I won’t forget.

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Tomorrow will mark one hundred years since the Armistice was signed, and I want to forever remember all the countless men who decided that that there was some good in this world worth fighting for. And that precious freedom was worth risking all, even for future generations that would never know them. Or may not even care. 

Your sacrifice can never be repaid except for me and those who follow to remember you, honor you, and share your story.

That is what I’m doing tomorrow. 

What I aim to do every day. 

God bless our fighting men and police officers.

God bless America.

 

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