Brunssum, the Netherlands – On May 27, the annual Memorial Day Ceremony took place at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten. The American Battle Monuments Commission, the Superintendent and the staff of the cemetery were accompanied by local and regional officials at a gathering to pay their respects to the soldiers that fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.
The Netherlands King was represented by Rear Admiral Ludger Brummelaar (Adjutant General to His Majesty the King and Chief of the Military Household) and the honourable Raymond Knops (State Secretary of Interior and Kingdom Relations). The United States were represented by the Honourable Peter Hoekstra (Ambassador of the United States of America to the Netherlands). Th. J. F. M. Bovens (King's Commissioner, Province of Limburg) represented the local government of Limburg. Military dignitaries, such as General Riccardo Marchiò (Commander JFC Brunssum) and Brigadier General Kate Leahy (US Deputy Commanding General, Mobilization & Reserve Affairs) were also in attendance.
Many wreaths were laid in the course of the ceremony and, amongst them, a wreath was laid by General Marchiò on behalf of the staff of JFC Brunssum.
Members of the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces and the United States Armed Forces stationed in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany participated in the ceremony. A Joint Colour Guard was provided by JFC Brunssum and the US Marine Security Guard.
Readers Note: The American Cemetery came into existence as a result of the Second World War. In 1944 Captain Shomon, Commander of the 611th Graves Registration Company, was ordered to find a Graveyard for the Ninth US Army. The Dutch Government offered a piece of land next to the village of Margraten. Unique to the cemetery is the connection with the Dutch people. Since 1945 members of the local community have adopted the grave sites of the fallen American soldiers. They bring flowers to the cemetery and research the life of the service member as a way to honour their sacrifice.
Story by JFC Brunssum Public Affairs Office