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They Flew for France

The Tragic Photograph

What made them go? Our country was not at war. They were young and had everything to live for at home. Yet they volunteered to die for France. They saw it all—many were there in 1914 when the war began and enlisted in the Foreign Legion right away. They fought at Loos, Artois, Champagne, Verdun. They knew the horror and the unprecedented scale of the conflict. They’d driven ambulances through shellfire carrying screaming wounded men to safety. There were no illusions about the risk, the danger, the horror. And yet they chose to fight in the sky. Their example—blasted through the newspapers—helped show their fellow Americans what service for ideals meant.

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