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Americans Heroes Buried in the Netherlands are Not Forgotten

On Sunday, people gathered at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten to observe Memorial Day, as they have for 70 years. Those buried there were the liberators of the Dutch in World War II. Each American grave was “adopted” by a Dutch, Belgian, or German family who has tended it ever since. There are people on a waiting list to became grave caretakers if they are ever needed to take over.

At the cemetery’s annual commemoration, 6,000 people poured onto the 65-acre burial grounds just a few miles from the German border, including scores of descendants of American war dead who had traveled here from all over the United States. They were eager to pay tribute to parents or grandparents who had died to defeat the Nazis. But they also wanted to thank the Dutch families who had been tending the graves of their loved ones, often passing the responsibility from one generation to the next.

The Washington Post has the story of the cemetery’s founding in 1944, and tales from some of the descendants of those buried there, and of the caretakers of the graves. You may wish to bring a hankie as you read about the way the Dutch feel about the Allies who saved them so many years ago. -via Metafilter (where you'll find even more stories)

(Image credit: © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA-4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)

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The library where I am director was contacted by one of these caretakers from the Netherlands. He was hoping to connect with the surviving family members of "his" soldier. All he knew was the man's name and home town, so he tried our library at a starting point. There was a man on city council who did volunteer work at the library and who had the same last name as the soldier, so we asked if he knew the deceased. It turned out tthat he soldier was our volunteer's own brother! He had no idea people had been tending the grave all these years. The two have been corresponding ever since.
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