Monday, November 11, 2013

A Road Worth Remembering

In the far southern tip of the Limburger province of The Netherlands is a highway, designated as N278.  The N278 runs from Aachen, Germany to Masstricht, Netherlands.  It is actually part of a longer highway that stretches from Cologne, Germany to Boulogne, France.   This highway was built by the Romans and used by Caesar and his legions, marking the northern most point of the Roman Empire advance in Central Europe.
The armies of Charlemagne used this road establishing the capitol of his empire in Aachen around 790.  The armies of Charles the V, Holy Roman Emperor in the mid-1500's used the road as did Napoleon and his armies.  In the last century, the German armies in WWI and WWII used this road both in their advances into the Low Countries and in their retreats.

It's fitting then that the American Military Cemetery of The Netherlands is located along route N278.  It sits 10 km west of Maastricht and 22km east of Aachen near the village of Margraten.  Within the cemetery boundaries are the final resting places of 8302 Americans who died liberating this region of Europe.  Included among the 8,302 are seven Medal of Honor awardees.   On it's walls are etched the names of 1,723 others whose remains were never found.

Also etched on it's walls is a quote from their commanding general, later President Dwight Eisenhower:

     "All who hereafter live in freedom will here be reminded that to these men and their comrades
      we owe a debt to be paid with grateful remembrance of their sacrifice and with the high resolve
      that the cause for which they did shall live eternally."

The Dutch of the area certainly offer "grateful remembrance"  This clip is from Memorial Day but applies equally to Veteran's Day.

On this day may we all offer grateful remembrance of those who have served and those who continue to do so.

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