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25,000 Visit Photo Tribute American War Cemetery in the Netherlands

Published: Thursday, 07 May 2015

The Faces of Margraten tribute at the Netherlands American War Cemetery and Memorial has been visited by 25,000 people, according to the Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven (Foundation United Adopters American War Graves), which organized the tribute. From May 2-5, when the Netherlands commemorated and celebrated the 70th anniversary of its liberation, more than 3,000 graves and names on the Walls of the Missing were decorated with a personal photo of the soldier buried or memorialized there.

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"The number of people visiting was overwhelming," says chairman Sebastiaan Vonk. "It shows that people widely continue to recognize the importance of remembering those to whom we owe our freedom, even 70 years after the end of World War II. The visitors' responses reveal that people were touched by the fact that they could look straight into the eyes of our liberators. The thousands of photos revealed that our freedom had been paid for with the lives of mostly young people, who were just like us.

Together with the American Battle Monuments Commission, the foundation will look into the possibilities to bring the photos back to the cemetery next year or at another moment. "We have been able to put a face to the names of one third of the soldiers. It is a number we are proud of, but it also means that the photos of many are still missing. We will continue our quest for photos, hoping to give a face to even more soldiers if we ever put the photos out again," Vonk says. Many cemetery visitors expressed the wish to be able to see the photos more often.

Until then, the photos will be on display in the foundation's Fields of Honor - Database (www.fieldsofhonor-database.com). One can find information about, and often also photos of, more than 20,000 American soldiers who were killed during World War II and who found their final resting place in Belgium or the Netherlands. In Margraten, 8,301 American soldiers have been buried and the names of 1,722 more are memorialized on the Walls of the Missing.

Both the The Faces of Margraten and the Fields of Honor - Database are initiatives of the Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven, a Dutch non-profit organization that is run by Belgian and Dutch adopters of American war graves in Belgium and the Netherlands.  The foundation has committed itself to giving a face to all the soldiers buried and memorialized there and in that way to keeping alive the memory to these soldiers. The foundation does not maintain any of the "Adopt-A-Grave" programs for the cemeteries.

Donate

Would you like to contribute to keeping the memory alive? By donating just 12.50 dollars, you will enable us to give a face to one soldier. You can directly donate 12.50 dollars via your credit card or PayPal by clicking the button below. Click here if you want to read more or donate another amount. Thank you for your support!

Mollie

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