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Happy Veteran's Day to...a Pigeon?

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posted on Nov, 12 2018 @ 01:06 PM
Some of you might know of my great love for pigeons.

They're fighters. Lovers. Devoted. Loyal. Scrappy and Gorgeous...

But Veteran's?


Many of us have heard of the Lost Battalion, and know some of the story. What is not commonly known is the role of a remarkable pigeon, named Cher Ami. That little bird became one of the greatest heroes of World War I.

Cher Ami: The Pigeon that Saved the Lost Battalion

On October 4th, American heavy artillery started to bombard the Lost Battalion’s position on accident, killing thirty men as they held the line. Major Whittlesey and his men watched as bird after bird fell out of a sky torn apart by German fire. With supplies running out and casualties mounting rapidly, Major Whittlesey desperately sent out his last pigeon, Cher Ami, to the American lines with a note that simply read, “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it.” With fire raining down on them from all sides, Cher Ami was now the last chance for the Lost Battalion to walk off that hill alive.

(I'm already getting all choked up).

The brave bird flew straight into the German fire, dodging bullets as he went. However, his luck did not last for long. Cher Ami was hit in the chest soon after takeoff, as American soldiers watched in horror as their last hope hit the ground. Against all odds though, Cher Ami got up again! Wounded but still alive, the little bird took flight again, charging head-on into wave after wave of gunfire. By the end of the trip, he covered 25 miles in roughly half an hour. He arrived at base heavily wounded, but alive.

For his part in saving the 77th Division, Cher Ami was awarded the Croix de Guerre, one of France’s highest military honors for his gallantry in the field. General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Force, said "There isn't anything the United States can do too much for this bird."

Cher Ami made it back to the United States in the care of its trainer, Capt John Carney. On June 13th, 1919, Cher Ami died at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. However, Cher Ami’s body was preserved and presented to the American Government with honor. It is difficult to say how many families owe their existence to the sheer courage and self-sacrifice of one brave bird. Today, Cher Ami is on display at the Smithsonian Museum of American History to preserve his memory. Since then, his story has lived on in the hearts and minds of Americans across the decades, and his bravery will never be forgotten.

Next time you decry pigeons as 'rats of the sky' - remember Cher Ami - the Hero of the Sky.

Thank you for your service Cher Ami!


posted on Nov, 12 2018 @ 01:36 PM
a reply to: silo13

Some studio should buy the rights and make it a movie. It's got the narrative arc already built in and a good team would bring it to life for young audiences.

posted on Nov, 12 2018 @ 01:38 PM
a reply to: Kandinsky

I was thinking the same when making the thread.

I know I'd be in the front row!

posted on Nov, 12 2018 @ 02:17 PM
There's a similar story linked to Verdun.

Fort Douaument, strategically placed, overlooking the town of Verdun was easly taken in February 1918.
5 clicks away, the equally strategic Fort Vaux was over-run in June 1918

Fort Vaux

The defence of Fort Vaux was marked by the heroism and endurance of the garrison, including Major Sylvain-Eugene Raynal.

Under his command, the besieged French garrison repulsed German assaults, including fighting underground from barricades inside the corridors, during the first big engagement inside a fort during World War I.

The last men of the French garrison gave up after running out of water (some of which was poisoned), ammunition, medical supplies and food.

Raynal sent several messages via homing pigeons (including the famous Vaillant), requesting relief for his soldiers.
During his last communications, Major Raynal wrote "This is my last pigeon".

Vaillant and his peers

Transplanted to WWII, Vaillant the animated film was released to mixed reviews in 2005, bringing in almost 62$ million

The film held the record for lowest box office of a CGI animated film, until its record was later beaten in 2006 by Doogal, a spinoff of The Magic Roundabout.

posted on Nov, 12 2018 @ 05:16 PM
... pigeons ?
gahh, crappin-on-my-car-vermin
shoot 'em all down !


posted on Nov, 12 2018 @ 05:46 PM
a reply to: silo13

My Dad raised and raced homing pigeons.
He had a deep love and drew many pictures of them, his favorites for sure.

It was apparently a very popular past time/hobby in Pennsylvania back in those days.

I really enjoyed your OP, thanks for it!

posted on Nov, 12 2018 @ 09:02 PM
Wow.. the pilots dropping artillery on their own soldiers must have felt like crap, after being made aware.
Never realized carrier pigeons played such a vital role in ww1. Absolutely astounding the bravery these birds had.

Thank you so much for sharing this story of dear Cher Ami.

posted on Nov, 12 2018 @ 10:41 PM
a reply to: TNMockingbird

Racing Homers is still a HUGE sport / passion for a LOT of people.

I'd really enjoy seeing some of those pics your Pop drew if you have them?

Glad you enjoyed it -


posted on Nov, 12 2018 @ 10:42 PM
a reply to: Sheye

I raise pigeons and there is never a day that goes by that I'm not thrilled and amazed by them!

So happy you enjoyed Cher Ami!

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