Our Fallen Heroes, Always Close to Home.
Traveling abroad, thousands of miles away from home?
Want to feel close to home — real close to home?
Want to be reminded of American greatness and magnanimity?
Want to honor our fallen heroes of World War II and other wars up-close and personal?
Visit one of the 25 American cemeteries on foreign soil, hallowed final resting places to more than 124,000 American wars dead.
We did so a few days ago.
We traveled to the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial just outside the lovely town of Margraten, the Netherlands, one of the top places on our must-visit list.
Walking among the more than 8,000 white marble crosses and Star of David headstones laid out in long, silent curves across the pristine verdant lawn, we could not be closer to home — the home of the brave.
Reading the 1,722 names of the missing in action engraved on tall “Tablets of the Missing” flanking a reflection pool, we could not be more moved.
Looking at the maps engraved on walls depicting the campaign and battles where our soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice, we could not feel more proud.
Reading the notes of gratitude by Dutch people to their American liberators and by Americans to the Dutch people and government for adopting these American heroes as their own and taking care of them “in perpetuity,” we could not be more touched.
In the words of 70–year-old Arthur Chotin, who traveled from Annapolis, Md., to Margraten this recent Memorial Day to finally meet the Dutch couple who care for his father’s grave:
By making these dead part of your family, you have become part of our family. You have created a bond between us that will never be broken. So, from this day forward, from now until the end of time, hartelijk bedankt, a heartfelt thank you.
Read about how the Dutch have never forgotten here and more about this and other American Cemeteries, Memorials and Monuments abroad operated and maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission here.
Lead photo: Courtesy American Battle Monuments Commission