2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII. This year is filled with anniversary milestones marking the end of fighting in Europe and in Asia, liberations of countless POW camps and concentration camps, celebrating the valor of those whose served and survived, and remembering those we lost.
This year of historic anniversaries surrounding the final events of WWII is being celebrated by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) by canceling a long-held service honoring those who paid the absolute price for our freedom. It is a simple effort that the ABMC is throwing out of their budget, but to thousands of families, this small effort is a major loss and disrespectful to the memories of the heroes buried overseas.
The service that is squeezed out of the budget is the simple laying of flowers at the gravesite of our WWII heroes, along with a photo that is taken of the grave and emailed to the family member. The flowers are paid for by the families, not by the government.
There were over 200,000 children in the United States that were orphaned by WWII. Many now members of AWON, American WWII Orphans Network.
This simple act of respect performed on behalf of the families that cannot travel to Normandy (Normandy is one of many battlefield cemeteries) on a regular basis to visit their father or grandfather’s grave in person, have had the availability of a US serviceman or woman, who is already serving overseas, to lay the flowers on their behalf.
This lack of respect, lack of understanding, and lack of just about any decency I can imagine shown by the removal of this service is astounding to me.
Who made this decision? Why weren’t the families included in the decision? Perhaps they could have paid an additional fee on top of the floral fee to keep this service going? Who was involved in this budget cut? The answer: someone who doesn’t understand why we fought, who we fought, and what price was paid.
When was it ok to stop honoring our fallen heroes?
Thanks to Emily Longnecker with WTHR13 for doing a piece on this important topic. She was the FIRST media to address this with the ABMC. No other news organization has touched it…yet.