Monument dedicated to World War I hero in Concord cemetery

Samuel Iredell Parker the most decorated soldier in World War One
Samuel Iredell Parker died in 1975 and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Concord.
Samuel Iredell Parker died in 1975 and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Concord.(WBTV)
Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 8:27 PM EST
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CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - On Veterans Day, a new monument was dedicated in honor and memory of a World War One hero.

Samuel Iredell Parker, a native of Monroe, NC, is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Concord. He was actually the most decorated soldier for World War One, earning several citations and the Medal of Honor.

“The American Legion was putting out flowers and flags the last Memorial Day and noticed that he was buried here and wanted to do something special for Armistice Day to recognize his being the most decorated soldier during World War One, and as a representative for all soldiers.”

Parker did not have a “proper” marker in the cemetery, until today. Now his life was remembered with a new marker. Concord Post 51 Legion Riders were instrumental in fund raising for the new monument.

For his service to the country, Parker received the Medal of Honor, two Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Legion of Merit and more.

Parker earned the Medal of Honor for his actions of July 18-19, 2018: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty. During the attack the 2d and 3d Battalions of the 28th Infantry were merged, and after several hours of severe fighting, successfully established a frontline position.

In so doing, a gap was left between the right flank of the French 153d Division on their left and the left flank of the 28th Infantry, exposing the left flank to a terrific enfilade fire from several enemy machine guns located in a rock quarry on high ground. Second Lt. Parker, observing this serious situation, ordered his depleted platoon to follow him in an attack upon the strong point.

Meeting a disorganized group of French Colonials wandering leaderlessly about, he persuaded them to join his platoon. This consolidated group followed 2d Lt. Parker through direct enemy rifle and machine-gun fire to the crest of the hill, and rushing forward, took the quarry by storm, capturing six machine guns and about 40 prisoners.

The next day when the assault was continued, 2d Lt. Parker in command of the merged 2d and 3d Battalions was in support of the 1st Battalion. Although painfully wounded in the foot, he refused to be evacuated and continued to lead his command until the objective was reached. Seeing that the assault battalion was subjected to heavy enfilade fire due to a gap between it and the French on its left, 2d Lt. Parker led his battalion through this heavy fire up on the line to the left of the 1st Battalion and thereby closed the gap, remaining in command of his battalion until the newly established lines of the 28th Infantry were thoroughly consolidated.

In supervising the consolidation of the new position, 2d Lt. Parker was compelled to crawl about on his hands and knees on account of his painful wound. His conspicuous gallantry and spirit of self-sacrifice were a source of great inspiration to the members of the entire command.

Parker’s family was present to see the new marker unveiled. Parker passed away in 1975.

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