Well, it’s the last Monday in May. Here in The Netherlands it’s Pinksteren or Pentecost. But for my family and my home country it’s Memorial Day. This is a day when we remember the men and women who died serving in the United States Armed Forces.
As a child growing up this was the true kick off weekend to summer. The day was started by going down town to watch the yearly Memorial Day parade. Bands would play, troops would march, people would wave and children would run up and down screaming with delight the joy of the day. Our family would then go over to our friend’s house. The McClumpha’s would hold their annual Memorial Day party at their farm. We would all show up with our lawn chairs and a dish to pass ready to enjoy the day with many, many friends. The adults would all gather to talk and laugh and we kids would organize various games of baseball, volleyball, red rover and kick ball. That is till the sun went down. That’s when the real fun started~ flashlight tag! So many memories were made growing up with the families that were so close to us for so many years.
But today, I’m across the pond as some friends tell me. I decided I would take a little drive to thank the many people we had been remembering, but I would do it here in The Netherlands. We drove to Margraten to The Netherlands American Cemetery. This is the only American cemetery in Holland. 8,301 American soldiers lay at rest in this beautiful cemetery that is maintained by the United States.
As we strolled through the lovely landscaped place of rest looking at the beauty and thanking the various people, the tall memorial tower in the middle chimed out You’re a Grand Old Flag. Little American and Dutch flags were on every grave and Old Glory in the middle was respectfully at half-mast.
I was sad to hear that we had missed a big celebration that they have on the last Sunday of May. They had over 7,000 people there yesterday to pay their respect to our fallen troops. I’ll be sure to be there on the right day next year. The memorial celebration at this cemetery has been going on every year since 1945.