|Birth: ||Jan. 12, 1894|
|Death: ||Jan. 8, 1919, France|
George A. Fitzgerald served in WWI as a Private in Company K, 355th Infantry, 89th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces. He died as a result of wounds received in battle near Fleury, France (Verdun). Originally interred in the cemetery at Auxvenes, France, he was re-interred after the war in St. Mary's Catholic Cemetery in Dell Rapids. Because he was the first from Dell Rapids to die in the war, the Dell Rapids American Legion Post was named in his honor.
Dell Rapids Tribune, Dell Rapids, Minnehaha County, South Dakota, Thursday, September 15, 1921:
George A. Fitzgerald
George A. Fitzgerald, son of Mr. and Mrs. M. A. Fitzgerald, was born in Harper's Ferry, Ia., January 12, 1894. When he was five years old he came with his parents to Dell Rapids and up to the time of the late war lived in this vicinity. When the United States declared war he was farming north of town. As soon as possible he sold out everything and finding that he had been drafted he requested that he be sent immediately. He took the place of one who was not able to report in his turn, and about March 15, 1918, he left with a detachment from Flandreau for Camp Funston, Kas.
At Camp Funston he ranked as a sharpshooter. When the 89th division was ordered overseas about April 15th he was with Company K of the 355th infantry. During June and July he was stationed at Grand, just behind the front, where we received instruction and training as a scout. He received further training and experience in the Toul sector, where the division took up a defensive sector. In August he participated in the important work of patrols.
On September 12, when Pershing had pinched out the St. Mihiel Salient near Mt. Sec, where the French had lost 10,000 men in ten minutes, near Fliry where the Germans had defied the allies for four years, he advanced as a scout (over the top) and about 11 a. m. on the morning of September 12, 1918, after having proceeded about eight kilometers (5 miles) he was hit by a machine gun bullet while advancing to capture a machine gun nest. He tried to go on but his right leg was useless. In the field hospital the diagnosis was "flesh wound." In Red Cross hospital No. 1 in Paris, after the wound had healed for two weeks and after his fever had run to 104, it was found that the hip bone had been severely shattered. For three months longer he lingered between life and death, patiently suffering, longing, hoping, praying for recovery so that he might finish his work and go home again. On January 8, 1919, he did indeed go home to his reward. His work was done, his cause had conquered, the victory was won. Well might it be said of him as his remains were laid to rest January 9th in the graveyard at Auxvenes:
"Soldier, rest! Thy warfare o'er
Sleep the sleep that knows no
Dream of battlefield no more."
His parents, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice A. Fitzgerald; his brothers, James, Maurice, jr., and Vincent; his sisters, Lillian, Polegia, Helena and Mrs. Marie Hogan, mourn his departure.
In civilian life George Fitzgerald was quiet, reserved, kindly. He had not an enemy in all the world save the Hun. Tis loyalty to country, love of home and faith in God are qualities always to be admired by men. To know him was to love him. His pals in the army thought the world of him. One who asked about him after he was wounded said that twenty of these pals, brave, freehearted, fearless doughboys of his platoon, when they heard the inquiry for George Fitzgerald, stopped, surrounded the questioner and with serious faces and a sadness from the heart, related the story of his wounding. In the hospital he was a favorite of the doctors and nurses whose wonderful care and kindness to him are to be highly commended. They did all they could do. Everything he asked them for he received. But in spite of their best efforts and tender care he crossed the great divide.
He died, but not in vain. His deeds shall ever be held sacred as a living monument to Democracy. His was a glorious death. His is the spirit of '76 and '61 and '17. Because of him and others like him we enjoy freedom, liberty, equality, Democracy. Words are inadequate to express proper sentiment commensurate with a hero's sacrifice and courage. He was a life well spent in patriotic service and heroic sacrifice, that "these (other) dead shall not have died in vain, and that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from this earth."
We wish to express our thanks and heartfelt appreciation to the people of Dell Rapids and vicinity, to the American Legion, to the Woman's Auxiliary and to all others who so kindly and considerately aided and befriended us on the occasion of the burial of our son and brothers. Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Fitzgerald and Family.
Maurice A. Fitzgerald (1860 - 1933)
Helena Gertrude Farrell Fitzgerald (1859 - 1938)
James Augustine Fitzgerald (1892 - 1967)*
George A. Fitzgerald (1894 - 1919)
Marie Margaret Fitzgerald Hogan (1895 - 1984)*
Polegia Mary Fitzgerald Bloomenrader (1900 - 1989)*
Vincent T. Fitzgerald (1903 - 1962)*
Helena Mae Fitzgerald Keegan (1904 - 1965)*
PVT. 355 INF.
JANUARY 8, 1919
Saint Marys Catholic Cemetery
South Dakota, USA
Maintained by: T McGuire
Originally Created by: dells
Record added: Jun 08, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 27422298