Why are there French coins on the gravestone of a WWI soldier from New Orleans?

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Chalmette, La – At Chalmette National Cemetery, eleven graves mark the resting places of eleven Louisianans who served in World War One.

One of those eleven, was an Army private from New Orleans.

Private Joseph Landhart served in an all-Black unit of the segregated 801st Pioneer Infantry.

According to the French Consulate of New Orleans, Landhart’s unit served in support of the American forces engaged in the Meuse-Argonne offensive in France in 1918.

Landhart survived the war, but died just a month later, Dec. 23, 1918, of tuberculosis.

His body was returned to New Orleans from France on May 23, 1921.

As part of an international campaign to honor America’s WWI returnees, the French Consulate paid their respects at Landhart’s grave, one hundred years to the day that his body came home.

French Consul General Vincent Sciama and members of the Department of Veterans Affairs placed French and American coins from 1921 on Landhart’s headstone.

Ceremonies for other WWI soldiers are happening in other cities around the U.S.

You can find more information at ww1homecoming21.org

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