Tonight (Tuesday, May 26), at 9PM EST on PBS, is a new documentary called Hallowed Ground. It is about U.S. military cemeteries overseas. Perhaps it should have aired on Memorial Day. It should be worth your time.
If you have ever visited a military cemetery it is a sobering, eye opening, and unforgettable experience. Thousands of white stone crosses, interspersed with Star of Davids, stand in perfect symmetry. Beautifully manicured grounds provide a serene final resting place. Visitor centers and monuments detail the battles. Solemn majestic chapels honor those who died.
I visited the American cemetery in Luxembourg quite often. General George Patton is buried there, between two American flags, facing the graves of over 5,000 American servicemen. Every time I visited there was a fresh single red rose on his grave, placed by an anonymous admirer - perhaps a grateful Luxembourger that lived through WWII. The Battle of the Bulge swung through parts of Luxembourg. Many of the towns were devastated. There are over 200 German bunkers on the steep hillsides across the rivers Sure (Sauer) and Moselle.
I was living in Luxembourg during 9/11. After the attacks something drew me to the Luxembourg American Cemetery. I was not alone. The floor of the cemetery chapel was covered in flowers, cards, and burning candles. The words on the cards were often in languages other than English. The military cemetery, even more so than the U.S. Embassy, signifies America and what she stands for.
Brings back another memory that will always stand out in my mind. The Saturday after 9/11, a moment of silence was held throughout Europe. I was driving on the busy 5 lane road that encircles Luxembourg City. When the hour struck, there were brake lights. The heavy traffic stopped. People got out of their cars and bowed their heads in silence.
Some things should always be remembered. Others should never be forgotten.