The night before this was the night we got home late from the volksmarch and Cistercian monastery. Our original overloaded weekend plan was to get back from that in time to go to our village Mass at 6:30pm. Since we stayed for vespers, we didn't make that goal so we had to go to Mass this Sunday morning at 9am. However, the ceremony at St Avold (exactly 57 minutes away) was at 11am and we had not wanted to be rushed and have to run out of Mass and jump in the van to try to make the ceremony just in the nick of time. This seemed to be the only choice we were left with in the end. So we did just that and made it to St. Avold's cemetery in plenty of time before the ceremony began.
It was a sunny scorcher that day, topping out at 92 degrees, and we were all sweating in our Mass clothes. While waiting for the ceremony to start, I took the girls and Bobby in the chapel to get some shade. An elderly French gentleman came up to Hannah and was telling her in English about his childhood. He relayed the story to me when I walked up. He was nine years old in December of 1944 when he remembers seeing the first American soldier come into his village to free it from German control. How awesome is that?!!! I was trying to tell him something that he didn't understand and so I asked if he spoke German because my French is limited to greetings and foods. He said he did speak German because he had to go to a German school for three years before the end of the war. Then he told me that he much prefers to speak English though. The gratefulness to Americans was oozing from him. It was quite a meaningful conversation for me. It isn't often these days that you meet a foreigner that loves Americans and remembers what the American soldiers did for them and the whole world back in WWII. It set my sweating self right pretty quickly before the ceremony began.
Lorraine American Cemetery has the most American graves from WWII in Europe. It is almost 11,000 men. I believe 6 of them were women. The ceremony was in English and then translated into French. I missed part of it taking children to the bathroom, but it was moving and reverent.
|Inside the chapel|
|Also inside the chapel|