The World War II Netherlands American Cemetery is the only American cemetery in the Netherland and the biggest US military cemetery in Europe.
Established on 10 November 1944, it is located a top of a hill in a small village named Margraten 10 km east of Maastricht in the province of Limburg. The resting grounds were donated by the Dutch government for eternity.
This prominent cemetery entails a memorial tower, a visitor building, a map room, a chapel, a courtyard and a burial area. You could spot the memorial tower driving from afar. It covers an area of 65.5 acres.
From the entrance, visitors are led to the Court of Honor with Reflecting Pool and a statue of a mother grieving, The Mourning Woman with three doves. Stretching along both sides of the Court are Tablet of Missing with names and information of the 1,722 rest in unknown graves.
I recommend a quick stop by the Visitor Building for a folder to get yourself acquainted with the compound. You should return at the end of your walk about to sign off on their guest book or talk to someone if you have any questions.
The map room (across Visitor Building) contains 3 large engraved on wall operation maps with details of achievements of the American Armed Forces in the area.
The Chapel is located around the back of Court of Honor. It has a bronze doors that depict a Tree of Life in outline.
Beyond this memorial Court and Chapel is the burial area divided into 16 plots. Here rest 8301 burials.
There is a tradition of adopting these graves by Dutch, Belgian, German family as well as schools or organizations These adopters would visit the respective grave frequently, placing flowers and to express their gratitude to these soldiers for their sacrifices. What a noble caretakers! http://www.adoptiegraven-margraten.nl/index.php/en/home
This sacred ground is immaculately kept. It is administered and operated by the American Battle Monuments Commission. It is simply serene. It was worth my time to visit, to educate myself and to pay respect for the freedom we enjoy today.
Every year on Memorial Day, the crowd gathers to commemorate the dead. Descendants arrived from all over the United States for this opportunity to pay tribute to their parents or grandparents.
The Netherlands American Cemetery is free and open daily to public from 9am to 5pm, except December 25 and January 1.
https://www.abmc.gov/cemete…/…/netherlands-american-cemetery (official link)
http://bcove.me/g0y6rrhm (video file)
I found a story about a Dutch couple yearned to know more about the soldier whose gravesite they adopted and spent months trying to connect with any of the fallen soldier’s surviving relatives in Maine. http://www.pressherald.com/…/bill-nemitz-a-maine-soldier-w…/