Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day

In a cemetery about six miles from the Dutch city of Maastricht lie buried 8,301 American soldiers who died in "Operation Market Garden" in the battles to liberate the Netherlands in the fall and winter of 1944–5. Every one of the men buried in the cemetery, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemeteries, has been adopted by a Dutch family who tend the grave and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted. It is the custom to keep a portrait of "their" foreign soldier in a place of honour in their home. Annually on "Liberation Day", Memorial Services are held for the men who died to liberate the Netherlands. The day concludes with a concert, at which "Il Silenzio" has always been the concluding piece.

Each year the soldiers of the Third United States Infantry Regiment ("The Old Guard") take part in the ceremony called "Flags In." Just before Memorial Day, each grave in Arlington National Cemetery is decorated with a small American flag.
The flags remain in place until the conclusion of the Memorial Day Weekend when they are all removed. It is the only time during the year when American flags are permitted at all gravesites in the Cemetery. 

Some of my own family memories - my dad's uncle - World War I.

Still have the envelope from the War Department it came in.

And of course, Reagan's Memorial Day speech that puts it all into perspective.  Thanks to this guy for finding it.

1 comment:

  1. From now on, whenever I see the movie, "A BRIDGE TOO FAR", I'll certainly remember the kindness of the Dutch people.

    This reminds me of when I was touring Israel, and learned that Israeli schoolchildren adopt communities which were exterminated by the Nazis, in an effort to keep alive the memories of those towns and villages which no longer exist.