One of the benefits of being in Europe during November is the option of witnessing a Veterans Day ceremony at a number of different memorial sites. Somber, respectful, and eerily silent, these occasions provide a moment to pause and remember those that willingly endured the hellish environment of war, many of whom paid the ultimate price.
Beautifully manicured and decorated with American flags, the memorials stand tall and proud as those they honor once did. The cemeteries rest in perfect rows where the meticulously groomed brave lay in formation, in death as they were in life. To visit profoundly reminds us that although so many were cut down in the prime of their lives and left behind those that loved them deeply, they believed the adage that 'freedom is not free' and rose to the world's call for help. These brave men and women instead chose to resist the terrorists of their time and fought for what they felt was right while knowing they might not make it back alive.
Europe holds a number of possibilities for Veterans Day 2006, whether in France, England, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, or The Netherlands. The American Battle Monuments Commission (www.abmc.gov) provides a myriad of information on the memorial sites themselves as well as planned services on the holiday. It also offers a search option for locating family members and friends buried on these sacred grounds.
This year, remember Veterans Day the way it's supposed to be remembered. War has been a difficult part of almost every generation's legacy - from the earliest battles in our country's history to those souls recently joining their deceased brethren of war from the scorching Middle East, to those enduring veterans still with us today - and they don't deserve to be forgotten.
Author/Photographer Vicki Landes features the Luxembourg Military Cemetery in her book, "Europe for the Senses - A Photographic Journal". Find out more at http://www.EuropeForTheSenses.com
by Vicki Landes