A shared history, A shared relationship
The horror of the battlefields
On D-Day, June 6th 1944, the Americans and their allies landed in France to start liberating Europe. From D-Day until the day that Nazi Germany officially surrendered on May 8th 1945, Europe was one big battlefield. The Battle of the Bulge and Operation Market Garden are just two examples of military operations that went down in history.
The soldiers fought for almost every town, bridge and highway, sadly at the cost of many hundreds of thousands of lives, both military and civilian. The American soldiers that died in battle were buried behind the front in liberated territory. Originally more than 17,000 American liberators were buried in Margraten, but following repatriation, just 8,301 service personnel remain buried in the hills of Limburg, far from home. Margraten is a visual representation of the horror of the battlefields.
The generation that was born immediately after World War Two grew up in the belief that the horrors of war should never happen again. The millions who gave their lives in the cause of peace and democracy would be a permanent reminder of our need for vigilance. And yet...
And yet it seems that peace, security, freedom of belief, racial equality, freedom of expression and democratic values are still not granted to everyone. We must be alert and vigilant. Particularly for those who either do not know about the horrors of war or know too little about them. We must make them fully aware that a war must never be waged again by anyone.
To reinvest in peace every day
On May 8th 2005, the President of the United States, Mr. George W. Bush, visited Margraten to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Europe. During this historic visit, he made an impassioned plea to keep the memory alive for all future generations and to invest in it. This was endorsed by the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Mr. J.P. Balkenende.
Every person who was present at Margraten was aware that no energy should be spared in investing in peace. Investing in a modern way. Every day. And never missing a day. Because the price of war is always higher than that of peace. This is an investment that is everybody’s business.