Verdun (ver' dun') lies in the eastern part of France, about twenty-five miles from the German border. It was a great fortress, one of a series of strongholds constructed to protect France from invasion by Germany. How well it performed this function, what prodigies of valor the poilus of France there achieved are known to all men. Against the iron ring of forts which encircled the city, the Crown Prince of Germany sacrificed the flower of his army. Half a million men he lost in terrific assaults the world will never forget. There was born that immortal phrase, Ils ne passeront pas, "They shall not pass". And they did not pass. At Verdun, smothered under a rain of shells simply beyond the power of description, clinging with the desparation of despair to their obliterated trenches, fighting for every foot of ground, the sturdy poilus of France met the elite of the German army and after a titanic struggle hurled the foe back. Well did these splendid men earn the rest that was accorded them when sent to the rear for a few days to recuperate. They were great soldiers, and nowhere ever put to a fiercer test than at Verdun. This war taught the world to respect the French poilu, the simple private of the French army. In their barracks or on leave, quiet, unassuming, sobered by the menace that hung over their country, they became lions in battle. Firmly they planted their feet on the ramparts of Verdun, and those ramparts, soaked in blood, they held against all the fury of the German assault. They were not big men, these poilus of France, but they were strong and hardy, quick and agile, and above all fired by the spirit of patriotism to supreme achievement.