Sunday, December 25, 2011

Gardens of Stone

The weekend in Bastogne we also visited the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg. Yes the one where General Patton is buried. While we did visit his gravesite, that wasn't the highlight of the visit. The cemetery is breathtakingly beautiful. It is also overwhelmingly sad all in the same breath. When you enter you see the rows upon rows of stoic stone crosses with the occasional star of David interspersed throughout. As I walked up to the first row of markers, I noticed that the Star Spangled Banner had started playing from a tower-like structure behind me. As our National Anthem played tears just flowed down my cheeks at the loneliness of being buried on foreign soil, at the sacrifice that so many paid for the cause of freedom, at the debt that is owed to these individuals. Three or four more songs followed after the National Anthem, and I can only remember America the Beautiful and Swing Low Sweet Chariot, all of them instrumental. I couldn't stop crying. I took pictures to remember the lighting at the cemetery that day, as the sun finally peaked through the clouds and rays of sunlight bathed the Garden of Stone in glorious streaks of warm sun.
I went to the tower that was providing the only remembrance from home these soldiers were getting: music.  It turned out it was a chapel; the place where I said a quick thank you to all those who came before me. We didn't stay long in that amazing Garden of Stone, but you don't have to be there long to have a lasting impression of their final military formation.

*First picture says Dec 81 underneath however that is part of the iPhone app that I use to take the black and white shots. (Hipstamatic App)

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