Senin, 14 November 2011

Fallen But Not Forgotten

Yesterday I visited the American military cemetery in Luxembourg with the British and the ambassadors. The sun was struggling unsuccessfully to break through the fog. The leaves were rust on the trees, but the grass was an unnatural green for this time of year. The German ambassador was waiting at the gate. He had come to lay a wreath in honor of the dead from the Battle of the Bulge.I got out of the car and walked away from everyone like the old man at the beginning of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. The American ambassador caught up with me and the two of us walked through the grave markers to the last row. The fallen came from all over the USA. Most were in their 20s. The US ambassador and I returned to the memorial stopping at General Patton’s grave. Forever at the head of an army.I mentioned this visit to an American friend living over in Charleroi. His father was with the artillery in the Battle of the Bulge and Alan said that his old man never got over the horror of that winter. Every morning there was the lottery, in which the forward observers were picked from the ranks. After the results the men would shake hands with their comrades, knowing their chances of coming back in the evening were close to nil. I thought about the graves that we passed yesterday and seeing those marked unknown. They were the best of the best.

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