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Sept. 26, 1918, is a day to remember

Wednesday marked a day long lost to history, but one that deserves remembrance.

One hundred years ago, U.S. armed forces began the Meuse-Argonne Offensive in France. The battle lasted from Sept. 26, 1918 to Nov. 11. It was the largest and deadliest battle in U.S history.

It involved more than a million American soldiers — more than 26,000 of them were killed and another 95,000 were wounded. The goal was to break through the German defenses, one of the last strongholds on the Western front.

Allied forces were successful. It was one of several simultaneous Allied attacks that helped end World War I.

We celebrate the armistice that ended the war on Nov. 11 — Veterans Day — each year.

But we rarely stop to remember the magnitude of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Soldiers braved unimaginable difficulties: chemical attacks, artillery strikes, machine-gun nests, entrenched Germans. Photos from the battle are almost unbelievable.

More artillery was fired during the battle than the whole of the Civil War.

More than 14,000 of the dead are buried in France, at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery. It’s the largest U.S. military cemetery in Europe.  A remembrance ceremony took place there this week.

“It’s because of their brave deeds, their acts of valor and courage and commitment … that these young folks are able to live and enjoy the life that they’re living,” William M. Matz, secretary of the American Battle Monuments Commission, said at the ceremony.

The battle stands out as one of the greatest U.S. military achievements. That’s worth remembering, especially on the 100-year anniversary.