Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service of their country, particularly those who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in battle. In other words, the purpose of Memorial Day is to memorialize the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. We spend time remembering those who lost their lives and could not come home, reflecting on their service and why we have the luxury and freedom that we enjoy today. We might consider how we can support and safeguard their grieving families and loved ones who are left behind. (Old Farmers Almanac)
The Story of Martin Treptow
Martin August Treptow was born on 19 January 1894 on a farm in the town of Eagle Point, WI. He grew to manhood in that community and, in the summer of 1917, was working as a barber in a small shop in the town of Cherokee, IA.
World War I was in progress and when the call went out for volunteers, Martin enlisted in the Army on 15 July 1917, in Cherokee. He and his regiment landed in France in the early part of December 1917.
On 29 July 1918, Private Martin August Treptow was serving on the Western Front with Company M, 168th Infantry, 84th Brigade, 42nd Division, known as the famed ‘Rainbow Division.’ The Rainbow Division had been in the thickest of the fight and the battle in which they were engaged that day, Chateau Thierry, would end up being recorded in history as one of the most important of WWI.
On the day that the Yanks went across the river and up the hill, a messenger was needed to deliver an important message to one of the company's platoons. In spite of heavy machine gun fire and artillery bombardment from the enemy, Private Martin Treptow, then 24 years of age, volunteered and grabbed the message and ran out under fire. As he was nearing the platoon leader, Treptow was killed by a hail of machinegun fire.
Later, in the pocket of his blouse, they found his diary. On the first page, under the heading ‘My Pledge’ he had subscribed his name and written something that many others in his company would eventually copy into their diaries. These were his words:
“America must win this war. Therefore, I will work, I will save, I will sacrifice, I will endure, I will fight cheerfully and do my utmost, as if the issue of the whole struggle depended on me alone.”
The pledge became known as the ‘Treptow Pledge’ after an Iowa Congressman had it included in the Congressional Record.
So on this Memorial Day we at Fredericksburg Farms remember those who made that ultimate sacrifice so that we may live in freedom.