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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Polar Bears in White Chapel Cemetery

We were quite shocked by the story we discovered at White Chapel Cemetery in Troy this week. Apparently there were some 5500 US troops that were sent to Archangel, Russia in 1918 to fight the Red Army or Bolsheviks to persuade them to rejoin the fight against Germany.  But then Germany surrendered in 1918, so why did the fighting continue into 1919? 75% of the 5500 troops were from Michigan! They called themselves the Polar Bears. A group of these veterans went back to Russia 10 years after the conflict to find the remains of their friends who had perished there.  So, we have this polar bear monument that stands in the middle of 56 graves of these Michigan veterans whose remains were brought back from Russia and reburied on May 30, 1930. The sculpture is by Michigan artist Leon Hermant.

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