France Research Trip for the Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I Novel - Part 1

Jolt, bounce, jerk

The moment the plane landed on French soil, my heart went into my throat and tears welled up in my eyes. No one on that cramped plane from Dublin to the Charles de Gaulle airport was tuned into the magnitude of that moment. This was it. It was real. 

I was “over there.”

I wanted to squeal, I wanted to cry, but I settled for grinning and sniffling quietly to myself. (I’m even tearing up as I write this).

You can read about a place. You can watch films about a place. You can even write about a place. But until you’ve been to that place, it can’t become a part of you like France and World War I did during my 12-day journey over there. 

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Introduction: France Research Trip for the Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I Novel

My first thought was to say no. And I did. I couldn’t pull together a trip to France in two months. I didn’t have the money. I didn’t have the time to plan such a venture. I didn’t have the time to take off work.

But I did have a passport and a whole lot of encouragement. 

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What does the Eiffel Tower have to do with Ferris Wheels?

How is the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, connected to Chicago, Illinois? The 1889 and 1893 World's Fairs, of course!

After Paris hosted their spectacular fair in 1889, exhibiting their elegant wrought iron structure known as the Eiffel Tower, Chicago won the bid to hold the next fair.

They were told, "Make no small plans."

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1918 to 2017: Choctaw Code Talkers of World War I and Veteran’s Day

November 11, 1918
The Great War ends.

November 11, 2017
Choctaw Nation Veteran’s Day ceremony.

I may not have been at that Armistice Day in France nearly 100 years ago, but the day originally set aside to commemorate it found me at the Choctaw Nation tribal grounds in Tuskahoma, Oklahoma. I wanted to thank veterans who served to protect my life and my freedoms.

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1881: Tobucksy County Courthouse in the Old Choctaw Nation


Left for the old Tobucksy County Courthouse ten minutes away from the hotel.


Arrived at the old Tobucksy County Courthouse.

Okay, we got a little lost! But we made it with no minutes to spare, breathing heavy from hauling books from the parking area to the side of the historic Choctaw courthouse. 

1890s Indian Territory

The coal mining industry was booming. Only one in four people in the Choctaw Nation were actually Choctaw. Politics were heated and deadly.

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