Finding Faces For Margraten

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - by Jim Bowman

Established in 1945, with over 10,000 graves, Margraten's "American Cemetery" is far from normal.

Buried here are men and women who came from all of America, to drive fascism away and restore freedom to the Netherlands.

When you visit, you will first be taken by it's mass, then by the pristine condition of each blade of grass. The gleaming marble: painstakingly washed and treated is not allowed to fade. Additionally,
where possible, there is carefully placed, an individual photo, often renewed, of the soldier (not all male) who is beneath that stone.

Among the 10,000 plus, are also names of 1,722 whose bodies have not yet been recovered, but have a plot reserved to honor them.

This is possible because individual families of the Netherlands have adopted each grave. So important to the Netherlands is the sacrifice of these men, that the waiting list to adopt a grave is now more than three years long. The "Dutch Foundation for Adopting Graves at the American Cemetery, Margraten" has 300 people waiting to join them.

In cases where families of these soldiers are known, the American soldier's family may correspond and family visitors to the Netherlands may expect the family who cares for their solider to accompany them to the grave.

Formed in 1945, Margraten is unlike any other cemetery in the world. Seven Medal of Honor recipients are buried here and the Netherlands has taken it upon themselves to ensure each solider here continues, in perpetuity, to be honored.

The Faces of Margraten project has found photos of only 7,500 "American Liberators" buried in the American War Cemetery in Margraten, the Netherlands. We have been asked to help find photos of these other soldiers, from a searchable database: https://is.gd/Faces_Of_Margraten.

There are five missing photo's from the SE Tennessee/Chattanooga area:

- DE VAULT, Warren G H: A.S.N. 34493012  (Rhea County)
- HUNTER, Fred L:  A.S.N. 34762055  (North Georgia)
- SHARP, John E: A.S.N. 34913567 (Hamilton County)
- SMITH, Clyde J:  A.S.N 34365363 (Sequatchie County)
- SMITH, Rafe H  A.S.N. 34824006  (North Georgia)

If you have a photo of one of these men, please submit it to the board in the Netherlands at
https://www.degezichtenvanmargraten.nl/index.php/en-US/submit-photo.

Additional information about the memorial can be found at https://thefacesofmargraten.com.

- photo by William Pittman, US Navy, mass communication specialist 2nd class

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