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Rhone American Cemetery


On our last day in France we were invited to visit the American cemetery for our fallen soldiers..It was a humbling and stunning vision...So many beautiful white, granite stones...some with names, many without. All of these soldiers were from Operation Dragoon.  Their objectives included capturing the ports of Toulon and Marseille...trapping the German Nineteenth Army and linking up with allied armies in the north. U.S. Twelfth and Fifteenth Air Forces, plus British and French air units, rendered vital airlift and tactical air support throughout these operations.  In less than a month, Seventh Army had advanced 400 miles into France. It fought onward in multiple campaigns to victory, May 1945.


It is a simple setting, stark almost...except for the two wreaths that are purchased each month by donations from family and friends...they are moved to two different graves each month..A symbol that they are not forgotten..we learned of the stories of these men and they were sad...One friend saving another and having to take the message home..there were many soldiers that were never identified but they also have a marker..and on the Wall of Missing the names of 294 of our missing are inscribed on the face of the retaining wall of the terrace of a the memorial.  

As we walked quietly and listened to the American officer in charge of taking care of this cemetery I looked around, I'm somewhat of an observer...and I was touched by so many from our group that had tears streaming down their cheeks...most had broken away from the group and were, in some way, dealing with their own memories of these times, perhaps their own children or family.  I know I was thinking of my Dad. He was not here in France, but he was in the military during two wars...and he was on many was so humbling to hear the many, did not tell of their time.  I looked closely at the graves, so many were in my eyes, babies...

Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial, in France...This was to be a temporary American cemetery, established here on August 17, 1944..The French government has granted free use of the land as a permanent burial ground without charge or taxation...I'm sure so many are grateful, as are they to us.

Dedicated to my Dad...always and Forever for his service to this Country...

Today is Memorial Day. The first official observance of what we now know as "Memorial Day" was held on May 30, 1868, by proclamation of John A. Logan, Commander in Chief of the Grand Army of the Republic and a Civil War veteran. The day was set aside to honor those who died "in defense of the country during the late rebellion." Known as "Decoration Day," the observance drew on a long Southern tradition of honoring the dead by decorating the grave site with flowers. In late spring or early summer, extended families would gather in mountain cemeteries for "dinner on the ground," spreading tablecloths on the grass and using their best plates for the potluck meal. They arranged colorful flowers on the graves, sang hymns, held service and baptisms, and prayed. This practice is still common in the South, from the Ozarks to North Carolina.

On this day in 1868, 5,000 people helped decorate the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington National Cemetery; memorial events were held in 183 cemeteries in 27 states.

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Reader Comments (1)

A beautiful heartfelt post Cheryl, I have always wanted to visit the war graves hopefully I will soon.....

May 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterViv Halliwell

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