Lucas Lays Wreath at the Suresnes Gravesite of Oklahoma Native Veteran of World War I

Nov 19, 2018

SURESNES, FRANCE – With the world reflecting on the centennial of the Armistice of World War I, U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas (OK-3) laid a wreath this past Saturday at Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial just outside of Paris, France to honor a fallen Oklahoma native who lost his life in “The Great War.”

Lucas laid the wreath at the gravesite of Private John A. Butler, who served in the 344th Field Artillery Regiment, 90th Division of the U.S. Army. A Veteran of World War I, he passed away on August 29, 1918. His division was one of the units that did not exist prior to US entry into WWI, and it was formed by creating a cadre of experienced officers and sergeants and filling the ranks with new conscripts.  The division was organized in Sep 1917 in Oklahoma, and the first wave of new recruits came from Texas and Oklahoma.

In addition to laying the wreath, Lucas also participated in a memorial ceremony at Suresnes Cemetery to honor other Americans who lost their lives in World War I.

“Though a century has now passed since Private Butler and his comrades were laid in eternal rest just outside of Paris, I was proud to honor their bravery and memory today,” said Rep. Frank Lucas. “Like young American men and women, from every generation, they went off to fight for our freedom and never got to come home. We owe them everything.”

Lucas was joined at the ceremony by other members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Representatives were in Paris this past weekend participating in the Franklin Center’s and The Ripon Society’s 34th Annual Transatlantic Capital to Capital Exchange. Also participating in Saturday’s ceremony were former U.S. Reps. Dave Camp (MI-4) and Connie Morella (MD-8). Camp serves as the Chairman of the Franklin Center, and is the former Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Morella serves as the Chairwoman Emeritus of the Franklin Center, and is the former Ambassador to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development from 2003-2007. She also served on the American Battle Monuments Commission, which was created by Congress in 1923 and is the guardian of America’s overseas commemorative memorials and cemeteries.

Located just outside of Paris, Suresnes is one of those cemeteries. Over 1,500 American Service Members and volunteers who lost their lives in World War I are interred at the cemetery along with 24 unknown dead from World War II. Bronze tablets on the walls of the chapel record the names of 974 soldiers missing in action. Originally serving as a temporary cemetery for the American Hospital of Paris in 1917 toward the end of World War I, General Pershing selected it as the first site of nine permanent American Cemeteries.

Saturday’s ceremony and wreath laying at Suresnes coincided with other events held in France and throughout Europe to mark the centennial of the end of World War I.

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