15 May 1895 – 26 September 1918
As his headstone says, Alex was killed in action in the Argonne Forest. Devastatingly, the headstone says, “in World War,” his parents who’d had this inscription made unaware that they would both live to see a second one.
Don and Bessie married in 1881 in Odessa – the then Russian Empire, now Ukraine – and had ten children, seven surviving to join their parents when the family immigrated in 1904.
Alex was the middle child with two sisters and a brother older and three brothers younger. He was working as a plumber in 1917 when the US entered the war in April, and he signed up shortly after in June.
The day of his death was the first day of the Meuse–Argonne Offensive, a major part of the final push by the Allies that ended the war on 11 November 1918. It remains both the largest offensive in US military history with 1.2 American soldiers participating and the deadliest battle in American history, with over 350K total casualties including more than 26K American deaths. “U.S. losses were worsened by the inexperience of many of the troops, the tactics used during the early phases of the operation and the widespread onset of the global influenza outbreak…” (Wikipedia entry on the Meuse–Argonne Offensive)
Alex’s parents were buried beside their son many years later. One of my photos shows the headstone of one of his brothers in the row behind, so it’s probable more family members are buried around them.
The centerpiece, though, is Alex’s beautiful red granite headstone. It’s in excellent condition, the cameo and gold star still pristine and shining.
Please visit my Instagram for any questions or comments on this post!