Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial Margraten
Lifestories, Soldier by Soldier
Paying a tribute
to the many young service-members who gave their life for our freedom,
and making certain that the stories of their lives shall not be forgotten,
are the main goals of this website.
“How often you will have me near you when the wood smoke drifts across the wind, or the first tulips arrive, or the sky darkens in a summer storm. Think of me today, and in the days to come, as I am thinking of you this minute, not gone or alone or dead, but part of the earth beneath you, part of the air around you, part of the heart that must not be lonely”.
It is as if
these words are spoken with an almost silent whisper, as soon as one passes
the entrance gate of the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial at Margraten.
It is the only U.S. military cemetery in this country. Covering 65,5 acres,
it is the final resting place of 8,301 American military service-members who
gave their lives in the service of their country and the liberation of Europe
in 1944 and 1945.
From the cemetery entrance visitors are led to the Court of Honor, with its reflecting pool. The visitors' building and the museum, containing three large engraved maps with texts depicting the military operations of the American armed forces in the European theater of operations, are located to the right and left of the pool. Stretching along the court are two massive Tablets of the Missing, on which are recorded the 1722 names of those who rest in unknown graves. A gold star next to a name on the tablet indicates that the individual's remains have been identified. These stars are very rare.
Beyond the tall memorial bell tower and its chapel is the burial area, divided into 16 plots, the headstones set in long curves. A wide tree-lined mall leads to the flagstaff, which crowns a small hill.
The cemetery is administered, operated and meticulously maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC). The ABMC is an agency of the Executive Branch of the U.S. Federal Government. The Commission honors the service, achievements and sacrifice of United States Armed Forces. The Commission’s commemorative mission includes:
* Designing, constructing,
operating and maintaining permanent American cemeteries in foreign countries.
* Establishing and maintaining U.S. military memorials, monuments and markers where American armed forces have served overseas since April 6, 1917, and within the U.S. when directed by public law.
* Controlling the design and construction of permanent U.S. military monuments and markers by other U.S. citizens and organizations, both public and private, and encouraging their maintenance.
Soon after the Battle of the Bulge had ended a couple of Margraten citizens started to plan the first activities which eventually led to the tradition of adopting American graves. This group became known as the Civilian Committee of Margraten. The adoption tradition was passed on from generation to generation. In September 2002 the work of the Committee was handed over to the Foundation Adoption Graves American Cemetery Margraten. In the mean time the foundation did a tremendous job revising the adoption register so by now almost every grave has been 'adopted' by someone from the Netherlands, Belgium or Germany. These adopters visit the respective grave on a frequent basis, placing flowers at special days in the year, symbolically 'standing in' for the American families of soldiers who can no longer visit or are not able to visit the grave of their loved ones.
at Memorial Day Margraten, 30 May 1945,
buried at Margraten died in battles from the D-Day landings in Normandy to VE-Day
(Victory in Europe Day) in May 1945.
Forty-eight of the 61 U.S. divisions that fought in Europe are represented at Margraten, including 3 Airborne, 9 Armor and 36 Infantry. The 29th, 84th and 102nd Infantry Divisions have the largest number of men interred at the cemetery, reflecting their prominent role in the fighting in 1944 and 1945. There are six Medal of Honor recipients buried at the cemetery. Four women are buried at Margraten, including two U.S. Army Nurse Corps Lieutenants and two female civilians, killed near the frontlines. There are 40 sets of brothers lying side-by-side in the burial plots, as well as twin brothers, one buried and the name of the other inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing, and there are the graves of 106 unknown soldiers. Their markers are inscribed with the words "HERE RESTS IN HONORED GLORY A COMRADE IN ARMS KNOWN BUT TO GOD."
The idea for this website is inspired by the adoption of the graves of 1st Lt. Kenneth R. Robinson of the 8th Armored Division and Pvt. Harry J. Lindemann of the 1276th Engineer Combat Battalion. Their story, their unit's story and the stories of all the other service-members and Divisions and units must not be forgotten.
Lt. Kenneth R. Robinson's grave, Memorial Day 2008
PVT Harry J. Lindemann's grave, Memorial Day 2008
If you are
in any way connected to one of the soldiers buried or commemorated at the Netherlands
American cemetery of Margraten and wish to keep his or her story alive, please
feel free to contact us at Fallen But Not Forgotten. We will be more than happy
to advise you on how to get the story told.
Backgroundmusic : the music theme of the ´Brothers In Arms´ game, composer is Stephen Harwood (many, many thanks, Stephen) and both the orchestral scores are performed by The Prague FILMharmonic Orchestra
Not Forgotten webmasters are :
Bert Caris, Landgraaf and Marcel Kleijkers, Landgraaf, The Netherlands
Not Forgotten voluntary co-workers are :
Mr. Terry Wirick, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Mrs. Nora Costello-Dougherty, Florida, U.S.A.
Mr. Jon Scutt, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Mr. Kevin Klump, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.