Davie men paid pivotal role in World War I

Published 8:58 am Friday, November 16, 2018

Sunday marked the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that led to the ending of World War I.

Nov. 11 is also Veteran’s Day every year.

It was only fitting that two of Davie County’s finest – Charlie Jordan and Ben Ellis – were remembered.

Jimmy Myers, retired Navy chaplain and district court judge, recalled their lives. Both were members of the Old Hickory 30th Division of the U.S. Army which on Sept. 29, 1918, breached the Hindenburg Line for the first time. It was Germany’s strongest line of defense, and it’s fall led to the end of the war.

Charlie Jordan of Cooleemee and Ben Ellis of Advance never came home. They were killed during the invasion.

“On that day, the grandsons of Confederate soldiers attacked that line and they broke it,” Myers said. “It set the German Army into defeat. Two of Davie’s own gave their last full measure of devotion to this nation.”

Jordan is buried at Concored United Methodist Church, Ellis at Bethlehem United Methodist Church.

Before he left for war, Jordan’s father had given him a Bible. It came home with the body, covered in his blood.

“I’m proud to be in a country where people are willing to put their lives on the line in service of their country,” he said.

The war monument in Downtown Mocksville lists the names of all Davie residents who died during times of war. “They will not be forgotten,” Myers said.

The ceremony at Davie Senior Services Sunday featured patriotic music by Benita Finney, and the Davie High School Wind Ensemble, and prayer by Father Dan Wall of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension at Fork. Scouts presented cards and others expressions of thanks to the veterans.

“We thank you for this country … for giving us a land worth defending, with freedom and peace,” Wall said in his prayer. “We pray that we will go forth remembering that you love us no matter what.”

Event organizer Lynne Hicks said her grandfater was “gassed” in World War I, but came home to raise a family of 10 children. Many of those children and their spouses also fought in subsequent wars.

Her family members, however, didn’t speak much of their time in the service, Hicks said.

“They held their horrors inside to protect their loved ones from their nightmares. Being away from loved ones and in harm’s way … I can’t fathom it,” she said.