As I previously mentioned I’m currently on a Rhine river cruise and my next intention had been to make a post about castles – it seems only fair as I’ve seen so many!
However, we took an excursion today to Luxembourg City but to my surprise we stopped at the American Military Cemetery en route. My understanding from the local guide was that much of this was the consequence of the fighting in the Ardennes and nearby Bastogne
This was quite a sobering experience really, perhaps more so because it was an unexpected stop off with the guide announcing than this was also the resting place of General Patton
As you see from the attached pictures the place was immaculately kept with the entrance gates and imposing monument near the entrance setting the sombre scene. Perhaps it isn’t surprising that it wasn’t long before my eyes had filled up and that tears were rolling. I remember wondering if there were more graves than flowers on this Rhododendron
I’ve always intended to visit Normandy and assumed that I would visit a military cemetery with its long rows of crosses one day but this was totally unexpected. What had the greatest impact on my emotions that day was not so much the number of crosses but the variation in what units these men had served and where they all came from. The graves from men from various infantry divisions were mixed with those of armoured divisions, airborne troops and the USAF.
There were two large plaques that provided a tactical overview of the battle of Bastogne outlining clearly what units had been engaged along with another depicting the Normandy Landings.
I probably had a lot more understanding of the battle and Normandy Campaign than many others on the trip but thought that the provision of this information reflected the genuine care and meticulous approach that liberated European countries have towards the descendants of those men that gave their lives in both world wars.
The guide indicated that there had been some considerable fuss about where Patton was to be buried with some initial insistence that he be buried in a Cathedral befitting his rank. It now seems wholly appropriate that his own wish was fulfilled and that he is buried with those men under his command
Lest we forget