Brunssum, The Netherlands – Hundreds of visitors attended the U.S. Memorial Day ceremony at the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, 28th May 2023, to remember and honour U.S. service members killed in World War II.
These heroes selflessly gave up their tomorrows so that we could have our futures
General Gugliemo Luigi Miglietta, Commander of Joint Force Command Brunssum (JFC Brunssum) and Major General John C. Boyd, Deputy Chief of Staff, Operations, represented JFC Brunssum at the event.
Other distinguished guests at the ceremony included Rear Admiral L. Brummelaar, Chief of the Military Household and representative of the Dutch Royal Family; Her Excellency Kajsa Ollongren, Minister of Defence of the Netherlands; Governor Emile Roemer, King’s Commissioner, Province of Limburg; and The Honourable Shefali Razdan Duggal, U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands.
In total, seventeen wreaths were laid to honour fallen U.S. service members. General Miglietta offered a wreath on behalf of JFC Brunssum and NATO. A combined formation of Dutch F-16 and F-35 aircraft performed a “missing man” flyover to conclude the event.
“Today we honour the nearly 70,000 service members who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep the hope of peace in Europe alive,” said Major General Boyd in a speech at the event. “These heroes selflessly gave up their tomorrows so that we could have our futures.”
He expressed his gratitude to the Dutch families of the local community who have cared for the gravesites of so many fallen U.S. service members for the generations since they were laid to rest. “As a representative of the United States Government, I cannot thank you enough. This gesture continues to honour these heroes, and keeps their story alive.”
Maj Gen Boyd pointed out that the United States can never be at peace if Europe is in crisis, “America remains committed to stand steadfast with our NATO Allies and European partners against aggression.”
Major General Boyd closed with a parting thought, “While we’ll never be able to repay the debt we owe our fallen American heroes, every day is an opportunity to honour them, and those who paid this ultimate sacrifice, because their legacy is our promise.”
The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is the sole U.S war cemetery in the Netherlands. It is the final resting place of 8,289 U.S. WWII soldiers, many of whom died in the Netherlands during Operation Market Garden in September 1944. Included among those 8,289 Americans are six recipients of the Medal of Honour, the highest U.S. Military award, and four women. In addition to those buried there, the Walls of the Missing records the names of 1,722 missing U.S. soldiers whose final resting place is unknown.
In 2023, the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten opened a Visitor's Centre to highlight further the accomplishments and sacrifices of the soldiers laid to rest and commemorated there.