Sunday, July 4, 2010

A Solemn Memory July 4, 2010

I was watching a wonderful and heart aching special on PBS about the American cemeteries abroad..all over Europe and certainly in what was then the Pacific theater.

The wonderful and beautifully done documentary took in World War's l and ll. We were "taken" to all of the National Cemeteries abroad and if we had no idea previous to seeing this (I did) how many Americans lost their lives in those two wars, it was amply illustrated in this documentary.

Those twenty four in total cemeteries are maintained by the United States and beautifully and specifically appointed to honor those military and in some cases, civilian casualties in the World Wars. They are magnificent in structure and in their gardens and statuary.

One of the cemeteries was in Flanders Field. I had chills down my arms and on my scalp for I stood there at Flanders Field myself. It was Winter and a bitterly cold and windy day. I wasn't feeling at the top of my form as I had pneumonia but I tightened my long black coat, my heavy scarf and walked among the crosses where many of our honored dead are buried. I stayed and did the best homage I could to those who fell in battle.

We went to Verdun as well. The feeling of the terrible (I chose that word on purpose) importance of these two places among many that impacted so many of our Countrymen and women was wrapped around my heart and mind like a vise. I never forgot the impact of being there. I only have one picture of me standing there in the cold wind, I don't often look at it. But today seeing all of the National cemeteries in so many Countries that provide the final resting place of our fellow Americans was an emotional and solemn hour and a half for me. I hope others saw it as well and if you have an occasion to be in the vicinity where one is..go and lay a flower there for a soldier who lies forgotten but still honored both by their Country, America, and the Country where they rest.


  1. Visiting the cemetary is just not for some people. I go there often to check on my brother and my dad's grave. I know it is sad to see all those gravesties where people died back in the 1900's and no one to remember them.All graves of veterans of any war etc are remembered here in our town with flags, no matter when they died.

  2. France is a bitter sweet pill, the French have a love hate relationship with us. De Gaulle asked the American General to remove US troops from French soil, the genral replied, do you want those at Normandy and the other beaches removed also. De Gaulle turned around and walked away....

    I have too many relatives who left some blood over there and in the Pacific theater. I get a little upset at times by some of the comments that come out of Europe about the US.

  3. Storm this evening, rained out. Thanks for the links. I wish I saw the show.

  4. It's a powerful thing to witness isn't it? I think that the closest memory I have to that is visiting the various memorials in Washington DC. The Korean War and Vietnam War memorials really grabbed me the most somehow. It's so important to remember what it's about. I celebrated with my kids both watching the public fireworks and lighting our grateful I am for such freedoms we know in this country that go way beyond sparks and smoke.