Luxembourg-American Cemetery and Memorial hosts Memorial Day event
By Staff Sgt. Christopher Ruano, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published May 25, 2014
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
A Memorial Day ceremony took place May 24, 2014 at Luxembourg-American Cemetery and Memorial to honor the service members buried here who died while serving their country in World War II.
More than 5,000 men and women from the U.S. armed forces are buried here including U.S. Army Gen. George S. Patton.
"We gather to honor those who have worn our nation's uniform, and more importantly, we join to remember their service and sacrifice," said U.S. Air Force Gen. Frank Gorenc, U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa commander. "Whether serving in time of war or peace, America's military forces have been sustained by one common driving belief and that belief is in freedom."
Memorial Day is not only a day to honor those who died in World War II but in all conflicts the U.S. has fought.
The Prime Minister of Luxembourg, His Excellency Mr. Xavier Bettel, thanked the U.S. for the sacrifices they made to liberate Luxembourg in World War II.
"70 years ago, young Americans came to Luxembourg to fight...to fight for us. They didn't know who you were, how we lived, but they fought for our liberties," Bettel said. "We should never forget what they did for us."
The U.S. Ambassador to NATO, Douglas E. Lute, thanked those who served and reflected on the achievements that were made by the men and women in World War II.
"While we remember this Memorial Day, the thousands resting peacefully here and the many tens of thousands of their brothers and sisters also resting on European soil," said Lute, "let's remember that they fought and died to end a great war. They fought and died also to lay the foundation of the peace that we have enjoyed ever since."
USAFE-AFAFRICA maintains a forward presence, allowing the building of new and deeper partnerships across Europe and Africa.
"Places such as this cemetery say all that needs to be said about the ties that bind America and Europe," Lute said.
U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa maintains its readiness to execute NATO commitments and preserve allied and partner interoperability.
"As in World War II, this generation of military service members is not alone but is also joined by our friends, our allies and our partners who share a commitment to freedom," Gorenc said. "This commitment is reflected by our combined partnership as we work together to ensure the security of our nations."
The ceremony ended with cannon fire and the playing of the U.S. and Luxembourg national anthems.
"We mark this day as a celebration of selfless sacrifice, the legacy of our armed forces is a proud and honorable one," Gorenc said. "No matter where they have been called to serve, they have responded exceptionally."