Sunday, May 22, 2011

The American Cemetery

Ah, the American cemetery.  How can you not be moved?  It is on the most beautiful swath of land, overlooking the sea.  There really is not a more beautiful place to be laid to rest.  The grounds are meticulously maintained, and there is a reflecting pool, a non-denominational chapel, and a museum.

The families of the American soldiers could choose whether to bring them back home to the States or to have them buried in the cemetery there.  (Unlike the Brits or the Canadians, who were all buried in Normandy.)  Sixty percent of the American families chose to have their relative buried in Normandy.  As one man said of choosing to keep his brother's body in Normandy, "He earned that piece of land."  Earned, indeed.

They say that the number of visitors to Normandy is fewer and fewer each year, as the older generations die off.  Of course the events in Normandy will never be forgotten, but it is sad to think that as World War II is buried deeper in the past, young people will be less inclined to visit its monuments and understand their import.