Before Afghanistan, Vietnam,and Korea, there was a war that changed the face of history. A war so huge it rewrote the maps of Europe and Asia. It was in fact, a world war. A war that my parents generation knew only too well. A war that both my parents served in. A war that devastated all of Europe and took the lives of an estimated 25 million soldiers world wide. A war that was begun at the hands of a mad man right here in Germany.
Two weeks ago Dan and I were humbled to pay our respects to the fallen soldiers at an Allied Forces Cemetery in Durnbach, Germany about an hours drive from our home. With Memorial Day in the USA fast approaching, I thought it appropriate to share our experience with you.
We must never forget their sacrifice for the cause of freedom.
Tucked away in a quiet countryside valley in southern Bavaria and watched over by the Alps, lie the bodies of 2960 soldiers of the Allied Forces. They lost their lives in fierce air battles against Hitler’s Nazi Regime. They perished not knowing their brave sacrifice won the war and spared their families and homelands from the hands of tyranny.
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible for the commemoration of almost 1.7 million members of the Commonwealth forces who gave their lives in two world wars. The graves and memorials honor men and women from all areas of the Commonwealth. They were of many faiths and of no faith and of many, many nationalities. They were united in their efforts to save the free world. And they did.
The majority of the soldiers buried here perished in air battles that raged in the Spring of 1943 but that is by no means all. Interred here are soldiers who fought from 1939 to 1945.
When you enter these sacred grounds through the archway there is a bronze cabinet in the wall holding a visitors guide. This guide lists the names of the deceased and where their graves are located. There is also a book for visitors to sign, comment and date.
The guide book lists out the details of the soldiers who are buried there. My mother’s family are the Burchett’s.
This plaque tells the story of the cemetery.
And here it is in detail. Soldiers from 13 countries died and are buried here. Countries that I never considered to be part of WWII.
Young men. Young…….Few older than 24. Pilots at age 21. Navigators. Gunners. Soldiers. Heroes.
They left wives, parents, children and friends behind and died alone behind enemy lines to rest forever under Bavarian blue skies.
Their simple headstones say so little and yet, so much.
A sister who never forgot.
17 years old……………
A Memorial to those who died in captivity. Read between the lines.
Dan’s mothers side are the Mac Donald’s.
“Our darling only child.”
Words of comfort for a grief stricken family.
And families who never knew the fate or resting place of their son.
There are four American soldiers buried in this tranquil setting and Dan would not leave until he found all of their graves.
He made sure I took a photo of each headstone.
Who knows, maybe a family member who has never been able to travel to Germany will see these photos of their loved ones final resting place.
A son of America died here and is honored in this place. “Sleep darling boy.”
“Eternal Peace Grant Them, Oh Lord.”
“Their Name Liveth For Evermore,” but only if we remember and honor our fallen.
This Memorial Day, we will have picnics, parties and parades. But I hope at some point we all take a moment to remember the true purpose of Memorial Day and reflect and honor those who died for our freedom.
“At The Rising Of The Sun And At Its Going Down……We Remember.”
Thanks for stopping by today. Journey on…………………
Hugs and Love from me,