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Unread 05-24-2009, 08:42 PM   #1
John D.
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Default A Memorial Day Post....

In short ‚?? I just wanted to post a simple post and say a sincere ‚??thank you‚?Ě to all who have served in the Armed services. Simply ‚?? just from Jen, me, my family ‚?? thank you‚?¶

And if you have the fortitude to read the rest ‚?? you will know why this is a simple sincere ‚??Thank You‚?Ě‚?¶.

Rewind back twelve years ago. Maybe more? Perhaps a long time ago. The time really doesn‚??t matter, what matters is that this note ‚?? or post ‚?? is personal by nature ‚?? but I think speaks for a few. Jen ‚?? my yet to be wife ‚?? landed in Amsterdam for a business conference. It was a two day conference where I was highlighted to keynote about technology, about computers and what the Internet was expected to grow. It was a wonderful conference ‚?? filled with all that what was to be the future. Little did I realize ‚?? for me ‚?? it was more about the past?

After the two day conference, we decided ‚?? Jen, my yet to be wife and I decided to take a long overdue vacation, and drive from Amsterdam to Paris, a city which I have always loved and Jen had yet to see. It was the same time of year as you are reading this ‚?? May we rented a car, grabbed a few road maps and headed out of Amsterdam ‚?? south, through the south east, touching on Germany, through Belgium and on into France. We didn‚??t have a schedule, nor a tour guide, nor much more than a map and the road ahead.

And that was just fine ‚?? as it gave us the chance to see things as they ‚??were‚?Ě rather than what others wanted us to see on a toured guide. You see ‚?? on a toured guide, you‚??ll see all the sights ‚?? those that are most famous. They have been eulogized and photographed more that I could ever write about. But ‚?? this post isn‚??t about that ‚?? rather it is all about this..

During our adventure we drove through many small towns. Nameless towns. Town who stand today proud of their heritage, proud of their roots ‚?? centuries ago. Small towns.. Villages really. Towns with names like Caudry, Ardeche, Quieve and Martez. Towns ‚?? that past, present and future ‚?? you will bypass.

But ‚?? here is what I learned‚?¶

In each of those small towns, there are simple gravesites. Men, women and children are interred alongside men and women from America, Belgium, France, Germany, England ‚?? and many other countries. They are small graves. Small headstones. Small villages. Small towns. Small places.

And these small places along the roadside are places where heros lived, fought and died.

There are dozens. There are hundreds. There are thousands.

But each unique headstone, marker, grave, cemetery, village and town ‚?? can never be forgotten.

But ‚?? I ramble. Here is the point of this message‚?¶

In one small village we passed though about a decade ago somewhere ‚?? off the tourist map ‚?? was a town. The only policeman halted our car at the town square ‚?? three of four small buildings at most‚?? and asked us to wait for the ‚??parade‚?Ě to pass. So we waited‚?¶. A few minutes later ‚?? up marched a few men & women in uniforms - followed by a horse and a cart. The uniforms were patched together uniforms from the great wars representing American, English, French, German, Italian and several others countries engaged in those horrendous conflicts of war.

After this parade passed ‚?? we pulled aside our car (the only one in sight) and I started chatting with some of the locals. I would like to share what they told me‚?¶

Their tiny village changed hands and countries throughout the war years. It was invaded. It was bombed once. It was burned down twice. It was a place where several locals were ‚??taken away‚?Ě never to be seen again. It was a place that isn‚??t known ‚?? easily forgotten.

But for all that ‚?? it‚??s no less significant.

On the edge of the town, there is a small cemetery filled by those who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their way of life. And each year ‚?? they just want to remember those men. Those women. Those children.Those who made the ultimate sacrifice so..

Each year;

One Day that year;

That small town can remember those who gave everything

For a place most of us will never see nor know exists.

To those men.

To those people;

To all who gave so Jen & I could know what you did;

And to those villages ‚?? probably thousands by count‚?¶

Thank you for remembering along side all of us;

Remembering all those who died preserving many simple freedoms ‚?? and those who chose to serve protecting the same.

The true heros in any conflict are those who are no longer with us to write these words.

And to them?


Thank you..

We will remember.

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Unread 05-24-2009, 09:42 PM   #2
Edward Tinker
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Very nice John.

I worked at Margrattin, NL several years for a Memorial Day ceremony, I was proud to help each year.

Some pictures of the American Cemetary in the Netherlands...
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Unread 05-25-2009, 11:14 AM   #3
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John, A pleasing story to read this morning that reminds us freedom is not free. Countries that have experienced war firsthand take the sacrafice more seriously than we do here.
Thanks, Jerry
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Unread 05-25-2009, 11:47 AM   #4
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Well done, John!

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Unread 05-25-2009, 01:04 PM   #5
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Well said. Thanks, John.

Author of History Writ in Steel: German Police Markings 1900-1936
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Unread 05-25-2009, 07:53 PM   #6
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Thanks John for the reminder to all of us. Just returned home from a small local parade,where I was in the American Legion Color Guard. Immediately behind us was our trailer with WW2 vets, some in uniform. It is difficult to see them getting so old. We marched our Color Guard to the side of the trailer and gave them a present arms. To a man they all stood up , many with great difficulty, and saluted the flag. Many with tears running down their faces. A thing I won't soon forget. Bill
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Unread 05-26-2009, 08:10 AM   #7
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During the summer of 1986, while stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany, I took my two then pre-teen sons on a 10 day camping trip. Our voyage was the trace of the western front 1914-1918 from Verdun to the sea. A "blue highways" trip if you will as there were no autobahns/expressways.

It was absolutely amazing. At each little town or village there was at least two cemetaries at different sides of the road by the major intersection in each locale. One was a allied cemetary, primarily Brit; the other was German. I would estimate I saw at least a hundred.

But the most memorable thing we saw was the playing of "Last Post" at the Meningen Gate by the village fire brigade, which is done every night in memory of the thousands of Tommys and Jocks and Micks and hermans who died there.

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