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The Great War | Digital Short

Le Chemin des Dames

“Word of this place and this graffiti had been passed down from generation to generation. A hundred years on, it has sort of taken on the air of legend,” says writer Richard Rubin. “You hear that it’s out there and you set off in search of it.”

About 90 miles northeast of Paris, The Chemin Des Dames is a ridge in a region of Picardy. During World War I, the Chemin Des Dames was very desirable real estate. Ridges give you height. And it had the extra advantage of these centuries old chalk mines underneath which afforded excellent natural protection from bombardment. The Germans, the French, and the Americans all occupied the mines at one time or another. Rubin set off in search of the mines, and found a time capsule, covered in graffiti. It was a testament to the men who served their nation, but whose names would never land in the history books.

Richard Rubin is the author of The Last of the Doughboys: The Forgotten Generation and Their Forgotten World War and Back Over There.

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