In Memory of the Valor and the Sacrifices which Hallow this soil.

thank you

Only a few days ago we celebrated the 75th anniversary of D-Day. People often forget that D-Day did not mark the end of WWII, it merely marked the beginning of the end.

So many sacrifices were still made in the days and months following D-Day. Thousands and thousands of mainly young men, some the same age as my own 2 sons, gave their lives for the freedom of strangers. Most of them did not know the people they were fighting for, all they knew is that an evil regime had to be beaten.

The title of this blog is a quote which engraved in the Marble reception hall of the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial  in Margraten in the Netherlands.

The cemetery was created in October 1944 under the leadership of Joseph Shomon of the 611th Graves Registration Company, as the Ninth United States Army pushed into the Netherlands from France and Belgium. American casualties from the area, and also those that fell in Germany were buried here (as Americans could not be buried permanently in enemy territory)

Margraten 1940s

Currently 8,301 souls are buried here.Stretching along the sides of the court are Tablets of the Missing on which are recorded 1,722 names. Totaling 10,023 souls remembered here. I could write pages and pages on honouting these men but there is only one word that really describes each single one of them-Heroes-.

Below are just some impression of this most hallow of places. Let us never forget.

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FLOWERS

ROSENKRANTZ

In this world where the greatest generation often gets disrespected, I am proud to see that there is still so much respect for the men and remembered here. The sight of 8301 pure white marble graves, is awesome,saddening and eerie at the same time, but these hallow soils are treated with the utmost respect.

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Sources

Own archive

Beeldbank WO2

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They gave their today for our tomorrow.

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They gave their today for our tomorrow.

Our tomorrow was sacred to them.

They gave their today for our tomorrow..

Sacrificing their own lives for those they would never meet.

They gave their today for our tomorrow..

A tomorrow which we should cherish even more.

They gave their today for our tomorrow.

Their bravery should forever be remembered and ingrained in our hearts.

They gave their today for our tomorrow.

To those who gave their today for my tomorrow, I bow humbly and respectfully and hope I was worth your sacrifice.

(The picture above is of a badly injured US soldier receivING the last Sacrament from Chaplain Anthony Dolavira of Brooklyn, somewhere behind the lines in France. The pictures below are of the Netherlands American War Cemetery in Margraten)

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Mercer Greene Abernathy- A hero who gave his life for strangers.

Mercer

One of the definitions of a hero is “a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character”

Mercer G. Abernathy was such a person and even though I don’t know him it is with a 100% certainty I can state he was a hero.

I know nothing of this man except for his Army records and a page of his high school year book, and that he  was born on December 29, 1924. in Texas

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He doesn’t even have a grave because he died in Germany or the Netherlands  missing In Action as navigator on a B17 Flying Fortress.

All that he is remembered by is his name on a memorial marker in the Netherlands American War Cemetery in Margraten near Maastricht in the Netherlands.

Memorial

He died in a foreign land trying to liberate strangers from evil.

At the entrance of American War Cemetery in Margraten there is a text on a building which says

“In Memory of the Valor and sacrifices which hallow this soil”

Earlier this year I visited the cemetery and said a prayer for all of those buried there and remembered there and said a few separate prayers for a few, Mercer Greene Abernathy was one of those few for I owe so much to those men.

Dear Sir I salute you.

Valot

 

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8301

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8301, not just a number or mathematical equation.

8301 sacrifices made for the freedom of others.

8301 young lives ended by violence

8301 heroes

8301 reasons why we should never forget what hate,ignorance and intolerance can do.

8301. although a large number it is only a small percentage of the overall sacrifices made.

8301 men whose future was taken.

8301 who found their final resting place in Margraten,the Netherlands.

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Sgt Rosenkrantz

I started this website and my blogs to find answers. Answers to how exactly my paternal Grandfather died. all I know is that he died during WWII when he was serving with the Dutch military and that he died early om in the war. But the circumstances how he died are somewhat vague,so I have resigned to the fact that I probably will never find out exactly what happened, for all those who could shed some light on it are now also gone. But I will learn how to live with that.

That’s why this brings so much joy in my heart. Last Saturday,my siblings and  I visited the American War Cemetery in Margraten in the Netherlands. It is a place of contrast because it is both a very sad place but also in equal measures a beautiful place. It is surrounded by a beautiful hilly country side, and the cemetery is extremely well maintained.

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8,301 souls are buried here.Stretching along the sides of the court are Tablets of the Missing on which are recorded 1,722 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.

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All of these 10,023 men are not just names on a cross or star, or a name carved in a wall, they are all heroes, each with a separate story to tell.

As is the story of Sgt David Rosenkrantz.

On 28 September 1944, Rosenkrantz an his platoon was occupying a farm, near Groesbeek, the Netherlands, when they were attacked by an overwhelming force. The isolated paratroopers hid among sparse trees and buildings. As Rosenkrantz rose from his position, enemy gunfire erupted and killed him. Due to enemy fire and the proximity of enemy troops, his remains could not be recovered.

It took decades before the family could have closure in 2012  Sgt David Rosenkrantz’s dog tags were found and only in February 2018 where his remains finally found.

He now no longer is a name on the wall for those who are missing in action. The final chapter of the book of his life was closed.

https://www.adoptiegraven-margraten.nl/en/

 

 

 

Charles Jesse Uplinger- Just a random name.

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Charles Jesse Uplinger- Just a random name.

But he wasn’t just a random man. He was a son, a husband, a brother and a friend and above all a Hero.

Born  on 9 April 1917, Sherburn, Martin County, Minnesota

I never met him but yet unbeknownst to him he had an impact on my life, for he was one of the many who sacrificed his life so I didn’t have to.

His service number 37581838 are not just a set of characters but the identification of the 27 year old man who selflessly gave his life on October 2 1944.

Dear Sir I salute you and with the deepest respect do I bow my head to you.

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Walter C. Wetzel-Fallen Hero

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Dear Sir, you don’t know it but I owe you so much,possibly my life.

Often have I visited the cemetery where your final resting place is. I may have even stood at your grave, contemplating why you and your band of brothers that surround you,sacrificed their lives in a land that was not theirs.

Margraten

It couldn’t have been for money because your salary wasn’t enough to sustain you. No it was for something noble,Freedom, and not just an freedom but my freedom and that of my generation and the generation before me and future generations. For that I thank you.

Today I hang my head in shame. for someone who calls himself a warrior and is hailed as a hero, a multi-millionaire,this “hero” displayed all the signs of a thug,hooligan and criminal. This is not what you gave your life for.

Wetzel joined the Army from Roseville, Michiganwetzel_port in July 1941,and by April 3, 1945 was serving as a private first class in the 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. On that day, in Birken, Germany, Wetzel smothered the blasts of German-thrown grenades with his body, sacrificing himself to protect those around him. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor ten months later, on February 26, 1946, by President Harry S. Truman.

 

CITATION:
“The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Private First Class Walter C. Wetzel, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty. Private First Class Wetzel, an acting squad leader with the Anti-Tank Company of the 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division, was guarding his platoon’s command post in a house at Birken, Germany, during the early morning hours of 3 April 1945, when he detected strong enemy forces moving in to attack. He ran into the house, alerted the occupants and immediately began defending the post against heavy automatic weapons fire coming from the hostile troops. Under cover of darkness the Germans forced their way close to the building where they hurled grenades, two of which landed in the room where Private First Class Wetzel and the others had taken up firing positions. Shouting a warning to his fellow soldiers, Private First Class Wetzel threw himself on the grenades and, as they exploded, absorbed their entire blast, suffering wounds from which he died. The supreme gallantry of Private First Class Wetzel saved his comrades from death or serious injury and made it possible for them to continue the defense of the command post and break the power of a dangerous local counterthrust by the enemy. His unhesitating sacrifice of his life was in keeping with the U.S. Army’s highest traditions of bravery and heroism.”

Dear Sir I salute you.

 

 

 

Robert G. Cole-Medal of Honor

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One of my new year;s resolution is to start honoring more heroes and raise more awareness of what these real heroes have done for our freedom.

No actors,musicians,athletes, or reality tv stars but real heroes who sacrificed themselves for the betterment of others.

Lieutenant Colonel Robert George Cole (March 19, 1915 – September 18, 1944) was an American soldier who received the Medal of Honor MoHfor his actions in the days following the D-Day Normandy invasion of World War II.The 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions were the first to jump into occupied France and cease certain important areas. An important part of the invasion, was to capture Carentan. Carentan the link between Utah and Omaha beach.

On 10 June Cole and his 3-502 PIR were moving up the causeway in between St. Come-du-Mont and Carentan. Trying to capture territory over the Germans. Close to the outskirts of Carentan, the Germans had a well defended position in the hedgerows near the Ingouf farm. While moving up the causeway, Cole’s men had to move through intense enemy fire, causing a lot of casualties in their ranks. The causeway is now nicknamed ‘Purple heart lane’.

At the end of the causeway, the Germans placed some obstacles, which acted as a bottleneck for Cole’s paratroopers. Slowly advancing, the paratroopers finally got into positions at the last bridge over the Madeleine river leading up to Carentan. Only 265 men of the initial 400 from third battalion were left and prepared for an assault on the farm. With the Germans in well defended positions and their fire still suppressing the paratroopers, Robert Cole had to make a difficult decision. He ordered his men to fix bayonets and prepare for a bayonet charge.

Robert Cole, like many other Airborne commanders, led from the front and ran with his men towards the hedgerows. The attack didn’t start out to well, but some of the men from H-502 PIR started running to the German positions together with Cole, getting more men from other companies moving too. More and more men got motivated to participate in the push. While Cole kept firing his .45 pistol in the direction of the German defenders, the attacking force reached the German lines and got into hand-to-hand combat, finally overpowering the enemy. Cole’s charge proved costly, leaving him with 130 of the 265 men. Cole set up defensive positions at the Ingouf farm and called for 1-502 PIR to support his exhausted troops. For the bayonet charge and his efforts that day Cole was to receive the Medal of Honor, the highest American medal a soldier can earn. Sadly, Cole did not live to see it.

LTC Cole was recommended for a Medal of Honor for his actions that day, but did not live to receive it.

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On September 18, 1944, during Operation Market Garden, Colonel Cole, commanding the 3rd Battalion of the 502d PIR in Best, Netherlands, got on the radio. A pilot asked him to put some orange identification panels in front of his position. Cole decided to do it himself. For a moment, Cole raised his head, shielding his eyes to see the plane. Suddenly a shot was fired by a German sniper in a farmhouse only 300 yards away, killing Cole instantly.

Two weeks later, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his bayonet charge near Carentan on June 11. As his widow and two-year-old son looked on, Cole’s mother accepted his posthumous award on the parade ground, where Cole had played as a child, at Fort Sam Houston.

LTC Cole is buried at Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial, in Margraten, the Netherlands.

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Medal of Honor citation

“For gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty on 11 June 1944, in France. Lt. Col. Cole was personally leading his battalion in forcing the last 4 bridges on the road to Carentan when his entire unit was suddenly pinned to the ground by intense and withering enemy rifle, machinegun, mortar, and artillery fire placed upon them from well-prepared and heavily fortified positions within 150 yards of the foremost elements. After the devastating and unceasing enemy fire had for over 1 hour prevented any move and inflicted numerous casualties, Lt. Col. Cole, observing this almost hopeless situation, courageously issued orders to assault the enemy positions with fixed bayonets. With utter disregard for his own safety and completely ignoring the enemy fire, he rose to his feet in front of his battalion and with drawn pistol shouted to his men to follow him in the assault. Catching up a fallen man’s rifle and bayonet, he charged on and led the remnants of his battalion across the bullet-swept open ground and into the enemy position. His heroic and valiant action in so inspiring his men resulted in the complete establishment of our bridgehead across the Douve River. The cool fearlessness, personal bravery, and outstanding leadership displayed by Lieutenant Colonel Cole reflect great credit upon himself and are worthy of the highest praise in the military service”

Dear Sir I salute you.

robertgcole006

 

 

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Brothers in Arms-Friends in life and death.

 

Angelo P. Marcaletti and Charles James Jr, who were they?

To be honest I don’t know who they were. However I do know they both lived in New Philadelphia,Ohio, and they both had attended the Dover High school in Tuscarawas County,Ohio.

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I also know they were buddies when they both were inducted to the US Army on October 27th 1942.

And I know they were still friends when they were killed on April 7 1944.

The question really shouldn’t be who they were but what they were. That is an easier question to answer for they both were Heroes. Heroes who sacrificed their lives to afford me the freedom to live my life any which way I wish.

Dear Sirs, I salute you.

Angelo P. Marcaletti

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Angelo P. Marcaletti entered the Army from Ohio. He married Vera Dindo on 18 December 1943 at the Sacred Heart church.

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He was stationed at  Camp Breckinridge in Kentucky at the time of his marriage.His parents and his brother were immigrants from Italy.

Charles James Jr.

Charles James.

Charles James Jr. was a veteran of the US 9th Army’s campaigns in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

He had been awarded the Infantry Man’s medal and the Good Conduct medal. He was born and raises in New Philadelphia, Ohio.

Prior to joining  the US  Army he had been employed at the Robinson Clay Products Co. at Parral.

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He graduated from High school in 1939 and was a member of the Catholic Church.He married Louise Martinelli in June 1942.

Both Angelo and James were killed when a land mine exploded under them while they were laying communication lines.

They are both buried in the American War Cemetery,Margraten in the Netherlands.

 

 

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The self sacrifice of Private Walter Cline Wetzel.

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The World War II Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial Margraten is a war cemetery which lies in the village of Margraten 10 km (6 mi) east of Maastricht, in the most southern part of the Netherlands.

If you have never been there it is a well worth place visting. 8.301 brave men are buried there and there are another 2,000 or so memorials of men missing in action. You will feel humble when you leave.Every time I visited there as a child I only had one question”Why did those men give their lives for people living in a foreign land?”

One of those men was Private Walter Cline Wetzel.

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Wetzel joined the Army from Roseville, Michigan in July 1941,[1] and by April 3, 1945 was serving as a private first class in the 13th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. On that day, in Birken, Germany, Wetzel smothered the blasts of German-thrown grenades with his body, sacrificing himself to protect those around him. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor ten months later, on February 26, 1946, by President Harry S. Truman.723px-Harry_S_Truman,_bw_half-length_photo_portrait,_facing_front,_1945.jpg

During the Allied advance into Germany at the beginning of April 1945, he purposely smothered enemy grenade blasts in order to protect his fellow soldiers and he died as a result at the age of 25. In addition to the Medal of Honor, he also was awarded the Purple Heart, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal. His Medal of Honor citation reads:(the picture below is not the actual medal of honor)dropshadowmoh

 

“Pfc. Wetzel, an acting squad leader with the Antitank Company of the 13th Infantry, was guarding his platoon’s command post in a house at Birken, Germany, during the early morning hours of 3 April 1945, when he detected strong enemy forces moving in to attack. He ran into the house, alerted the occupants and immediately began defending the post against heavy automatic weapons fire coming from the hostile troops. Under cover of darkness the Germans forced their way close to the building where they hurled grenades, 2 of which landed in the room where Pfc. Wetzel and the others had taken up firing positions. Shouting a warning to his fellow soldiers, Pfc. Wetzel threw himself on the grenades and, as they exploded, absorbed their entire blast, suffering wounds from which he died. The supreme gallantry of Pfc. Wetzel saved his comrades from death or serious injury and made it possible for them to continue the defense of the command post and break the power of a dangerous local counterthrust by the enemy. His unhesitating sacrifice of his life was in keeping with the U.S. Army’s highest traditions of bravery and heroism.”

Dear sir I thank you for your sacrifice for I know now you did not sacrifice yourself for a foreign land but for a much greater good,freedom for all and the preservation of mankind. Because of you and your brothers in arms I grew up a free man.

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