Thousands of books and scores of films tell about epic battles and decorated heroes of World War I. Fewer stories depict the soldiers who fought in obscure battles and never attained iconic stature. One of those forgotten doughboys was Michael Zataney, a Lebanese immigrant from Birmingham, Alabama.
On November 11, 1918, word came to Michael's unit, the 321st Infantry that the armistice had been signed at five o'clock that morning and the war would be over in six short hours. However, battle orders drawn up prior to the armistice did not include any contingency for a cease fire. The result was widespread chaos along the Western Front. Some units were already engaged in combat; others were scheduled to go into action; the fortunate were ordered to stand down. Hundreds of American soldiers were wounded and killed fighting to liberate territory that under the terms of the Armistice agreement the Germans would evacuate within two weeks.
At 6:00 a.m. the 321st Infantry, stationed just east of Verdun, was ordered to attack the Germans who held Grimaucourt, a nearby village.