Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to St. Avold, France to visit the Lorraine American WWII Cemetery where my great uncle, Buddy, is buried. It was an absolutely incredible experience. When I got there, the superintendant had me stand on the central staircase to take what I was seeing in. Before me lay a sea of white crosses. Over 10,000 are in this cemetery. The biggest international cemetery.
He then walks me down to Buddy's grave and has a small ceremony as we lay down flowers and a flag. He then takes sand from Omaha Beach in his hand and rubs it into the stones engravings to make them stand out. He also sprinkled some on top. After a few pictures, we both stood there looking. Remembering everything that these people have done for us.
He then retires himself and walks to the central chapel and starts Taps for me and for Buddy. The staff stood in pride saluting me and Buddy's memory as three gunshots occurred and taps bellowed through the hollowed grounds.