Memorial Day 2006 at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial Margraten,
the Netherlands
, 28 May

Memorial Day 2006 - 1 Memorial Day 2006 - 2

Memorial Day, a typical American day of observance, was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays.

Sometimes it is said that traditional observance of Memorial Day has diminished over the years. Whether this is true or not, perhaps local history, hardship and gratitude combined, triggers the same sentiments which forged the roots for Memorial Day, but at the Memorial Day ceremonies at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial near the town of Margraten in the Netherlands, many people from all over the Dutch country gather at the grounds where more than 10.000 U.S. soldiers are either buried or commemorated. These people are the voluntary caretakers of the gravesites at the Margraten cemetery. For them too, Memorial Day is a special moment of remembrance. Of course attending the ceremonies, but according to Memorial Day tradition, also placing flowers at the graves and having a moment and some thoughts with ´their fallen liberator´. A few of these caretakers are highlighted in the next pages of this impression of Memorial Day at Margraten in 2006.

A Birthday Wish... ; the gravesite of Pfc Aston H. Morgan III
280th Field Artillery Battalion

Adopted by Marvin Raats

Margraten... ; the gravesite of 2nd Lt. Michael O'Grady
367th Bomber Squadron, 306th Bomber Group, Heavy

Adopted by Michiel Schipper

Tradition... ; the gravesite of TEC 5 Frank H. Jenkins
A Co, 49th Armored Infantry Battalion, 8th Armored Division

Adopted by Lucien Gerardu

Liberators... ; the gravesite of Pfc Charles J. Hohn
120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Infantry Division

Adopted by the Scouting Pioniers Oude Mijnstreek Landgraaf

WWII and Adoption... ; the gravesite of PVT Ralph J. Carter
9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division

and the gravesite of Pfc Joseph Fernandez
1276th Engineer Combat Battalion

Adopted by Martijn van Haren