Carthage Honors McConnell on Monday
Monday is to be James Rogers McConnell Day in Carthage, by order of the town board. Mayor Ronnie Fields signed the proclamation at the May meeting of commissioners. The day honors McConnell, a founding member of the World War I group of American volunteer combat pilots that became known as The Lafayette Escadrille.
"James Rogers McConnell lived in Carthage and served as the land and industrial agent for the Seaboard Air Line Railway, as well as the secretary of the Carthage Board of Trade before leaving for France to assist the French " the proclamation says. "because he fought for Democracy, Humanity and Liberty with valor and devotion we pause, honor, and praise this day for his conspicuous bravery"
McConnell was honored by France with the plaque now displayed on a stone in front of the old Town Hall across the street. It was originally at the McConnell Hospital (named for him) then moved to the county hospital, and finally brought home to Carthage.
McConnell was the last American pilot of the squadron to die under French colors. He was killed in aerial combat with two German planes, above the Somme battlefields, near the village of Flavy-le-Martel, Aisne, on March 19, 1917, just three weeks before the United States entered the war.
On Memorial Day, the state will dedicate a highway marker honoring McConnell and a copy of the proclamation will be presented to the Carthage Historical Committee.
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