Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Memorial Day, Luxembourg American Cemetery

Front Gate

In front of operations map

I know that it’s been almost 2 weeks since Memorial Day, but gimme a break…it’s been less than 30 days – at least I’m actually posting it…with pictures! lol We had a wonderful time this year visiting the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial and I wanted to share the visit with you.

Our neighborhood Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts camped Friday to Sunday near the cemetery. The kids (and adults) cleaned the headstones (the flags and flowers were already laid) Friday evening. Birds, weather and white headstones don’t mix, so you can imagine the work that was done!

Saturday morning, the scouts raised the American and Luxembourg flags. The morning was overcast, not promising any peek of the sun.

The Memorial Day service began at 1400 with the Missing Man flyover by Spangdahlem’s USAF 52nd Fighter Wing. (It was sprinkling at this time…so can you imagine everyone face up to the sky to catch a glimpse of the planes?!)

Remarks were made by the United States Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg Ann L. Wagner;

The Honorable Jean-Louis Schiltz, Minister for Defence and Cooperation

and Brigadier General Steven R. Lanza, Deputy Commanding General Fifth Corps of the United States Army Europe and Seventh Army.

(I won’t even begin to tell you how long it took me to find the proper names of the speakers. I was too busy trying to take the pictures and quieting Evelyn – so no notes!)After the speakers’ remarks, they ‘laid’ their wreaths and then the procession of flowers from other organizations began. Two scouts flanked an Airman as s/he carried the memorial flowers during the service. Jesse, Kyrsten, Gloria and Jonathan all participated. (Unfortunately, I had mistaken the path they would take and was on the other side of the service when they began. As soon as I realized this, I ran (clip-clopping in my heeled boots) across the granite, but to no avail…I was too late. So, the pictures of the kids aren’t very good and I didn’t even get one of Jess!)

middle white wreath from: the people of the United States of America

Jonny with his Pack's wreath

There are 5,076 American soldiers laid to rest here, including General George Patton, an Army nurse (Nancy J. Leo), 22 sets of brothers laid side by side and 101 Unknown Soldiers.

General George S. Patton's Grave

Unknown Soldier Headstone

At one point during the afternoon, we decided to take a family photo. While I was getting the camera ready, Jesse and Kyrsten were reading the names of nearby headstones when an older man approached the grave where they stood. He said he was there to visit the grave of his friend and briefly recounted his story, while laying his flower; he was there that day to remember him.

It was so humbling to walk through the cemetery, noting the bouquets of flowers and stones that mark the visits and thoughts of loved ones still living, to see how great the cost of freedom.

Headstone of Jewish soldier with remembrance stone

Gratitude. For those soldiers that gave their lives, for the people that are in today’s military, for the freedoms we have today because of duty, honor and the knowledge that freedom isn’t free. God bless America.

1 comment:

  1. Loved the pictures--what a neat scout project. Yes, God bless all those that serve their countries for freedom's sake.


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