Belgium has twice in the last century suffered the tyranny of a foreign invasion and occupation. Of the 345,000 Americans killed in action during the two World Wars, over 14,000 are forever buried in Belgium. Memorial Day is an American national holiday to remember their sacrifice.
This year’s events are planned for the weekend of May 26 and 27.
Ceremonies take place in the three American military cemeteries situated in Flanders and Wallonia. Each gravestone marks the resting place of an American who died fighting tyranny and oppression in the name of human dignity and the freedom of mankind. Each gravestone also represents the tragic loss of a beloved husband, brother, father or son.
Memorial Day ceremonies in Belgium are not only a tribute to fallen heroes. They are a symbol of the shared values of the American and Belgian peoples. American and Belgian veterans, resistance fighters, military officers, diplomats, government officials and other distinguished guests offer testimonials and prayers in honour of the dead. The occasion helps us to recall the self-evident truths enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence, “…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Memorial Day ceremonies remind us all – young and old – that wars are never good, but sometimes necessary.
Former U.S. President John F. Kennedy once said, “a nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” Memorial Day ceremonies ensure that the heroic spirit of many brave men and women will live on in this century, so that we might never forget the expensive lessons learned at the price of human blood. After all, to forget the past is to risk repeating it.
Everyone is invited to attend the Memorial Day ceremonies. If you have not previously done so, do not miss this year’s opportunity to attend. You can also help to honor these brave men and women by making a contribution to the American Overseas Memorial Day Association (AOMDA), an all-volunteer, non-profit organization supported solely by private donations. Gifts are gratefully received by the AOMDA at ING account 310-1202144-12. For directions and additional information: www.aomda.org.
2012 Memorial Day Ceremonies
- Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 10 am, Ardennes American Cemetery in Neuville-en-Condroz
- Saturday, May 26, 2012 at 4 pm, Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in Aubel
- Sunday, May 27, 2012 at 3 pm, Flanders Field American Cemetery in Waregem