Reader's view: Duluthian deserves honor for his WWI courage
On Oct. 5-6, 1918, Lt. Col. James A. Shannon of Duluth fought at a battle near Chatel-Chehery, France, where he earned the Distinguished Service Cross. He was one of many who died in action over those two days. He was a very special man.
On Oct. 5, he voluntarily led an officers’ patrol nearly two miles into enemy territory. The next morning, while leading a group of soldiers, he was killed.
His heroic actions took place in the battle of the Beaurevior Line, a critical juncture near the end of World War I. It was an important victory for the Allies because it was a battle the U.S. helped win and because it opened land, allowing the Allies to move forward into areas previously controlled by the Germans. Lt. Col. Shannon’s exceptional bravery and skill in leading his patrol into contact with the enemy helped bring success in the days that would follow his death.
In addition to the Distinguished Service Cross, Lt. Col. Shannon, a member of the U.S. Army, was presented the Purple Heart.
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented for extraordinary heroism. Lt. Col. Shannon rightfully qualified. It also is given for going against an opposing or foreign force or for engaging in an armed conflict with an opposing force while serving with friendly forces because the U.S. is not a belligerent party.
James A. Shannon is buried at Arlington National Cemetery and is a very special person to us all. I believe everyone should appreciate and remember this young man who fought for our country and was very important to someone out there. Please remember James A. Shannon for the great things he did for our country and for how great a man he was.
Elk River, Minn.
The writer is in the sixth grade at Salk Middle School. She wrote this for the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the History Channel and National History Day; she offered it to the News Tribune for exclusive publication.