- Last Updated on Sunday, 29 April 2018 10:00
Carl Willig died at the Battle of St. Mihiel on September 16, 1918, the last day of America’s first solo victory on European soil.
Fifty-six days before the Great War ended and thirty minutes before his replacement arrived, a high impact shell struck and instantly killed Carl. In what we now call the “fog of war,” Carl was lost, listed among the 284 “missing.” As years went by, he was almost forgotten. But, on November 10, 2008, Noretta WIllig’s phone rang and a genealogist working for the Army identified her as Carl’s next of kin. Ninety years after his death, Carl’s story begins again.
Willig reveals the mystery of Carl’s identification on Thursday, May 10 from 7 to 8 p.m. in her talk at the Peters Township Public Library. She traces his eventual journey home to be met at Pittsburgh International Airport by the 316th Sustainment Command and finally laid to rest with full military honors at Versailles Cemetery on June 19, 2009. She then takes us back to the place where Carl fell in a woods in France. A graduate of Ohio University with a Master’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Noretta Willig began her career in journalism as an editor with PPG Industries. Later she taught American and European literature in a local high school. She has traveled throughout the 50 states and to many foreign countries, including the battlefields of France.
Register online to attend at ptlibrary.org/events or call 724-941-9430. Signed copies of the book will be available at special event pricing. The soft cover will be sold for $15, and the hardback version will be sold for $20. All profits from the sales will go to an injured US Army veteran in need. Several displays featuring World War I posters and memorabilia will be available to view after the program.