King Willem-Alexander was in the Limburg Margraten on last Sunday to commemorate the American soldiers who died in World War II. Prior to the direct report of the NIS, the EO broadcasts the documentary ‘Akkers van Margraten’, which gives a special picture of the last phase of the war.
During the commemoration, King Willem-Alexander laid the first wreath 75 years after the liberation. The American ambassador, Pete Hoekstra, and the Limburg governor, Theo Bovens, also gave a short speech. Due to the corona measures, there was no public at the commemoration. Television broadcasts highlighted the history of the cemetery and reported about people who had adopted a grave. All graves are adopted by Dutch citizens who care for the graves, place flowers regularly etc. The adoptions remains with the families and is handed over down the line of generations so that this is kept alive. Also lifelong friendships have developed after the Dutch adaption families started to correspond wth the American families of the soldiers.
When the first American soldiers were buried here at the end of 1944 - to the surprise of farmers and local residents - no one could foresee that a year and a half later, twenty thousand crosses and stars of David would be stuck in the mud. Margraten, on Dutch soil, is located only a couple of kilometers of the German border and was chosen to prevent American soldiers to be buried on German soil. Margraten is just north of Maastricht where at the time the American headquarters were located.
This special memorial program is in the Dutch language but the images speak for themselves. There also is a Foundation for the Adoption of Graves of the American Cemetery.