News: Cambridge ceremony commemorates 68th Annual Memorial Day Observance
Story by Senior Airman Rachel Waller
MADINGLEY, England — Airmen from RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath commemorated the 68th Annual Memorial Day Observance, May 28, at the Cambridge American Cemetery at Madingley.
The ceremony honored the service men and women who are buried in the cemetery and those listed on the Wall of the Missing.
“Today, we honor the fallen who made the ultimate sacrifice, particularly those who are remembered around us here, their names inscribed on the Wall of the Missing,” said Hugh Duberly, Her Majesty’s Lord-Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire. “We, in Britain, remember them.”
The cemetery contains 3,812 headstones, which include 17 women and 24 who are ‘unknown.’ In addition to the headstones, the Wall of the Missing is almost 500-feet long and contains more than 5,000 names of individuals from all services missing in action, lost or buried at sea, or unknown.
“Around us are more than 8,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen who unselfishly, with unflinching courage and disregarded risks, gave until they had nothing more to give,” said Navy Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, representing U.S. European Command. “Today, we are free people in a free society as a result.”
Not only were the fallen honored, but World War II veterans and their families in attendance were also recognized for their service.
To begin the recognition of the fallen Service members, dignitaries laid floral wreaths at the base of the Wall of the Missing.
After the wreaths were laid, an MC-130H Combat Talon from the 352nd Special Operations Group, and a KC-135 Stratotanker from the 100th Air Refueling Wing performed fly-bys over the cemetery.
Following the fly-bys, the RAF Mildenhall Honor Guard rendered a 21-gun salute. After the last volley was complete, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band played Taps as the flag was raised.
A missing-man formation of F-15C Eagles from the 48th Fighter Wing performed a fly-by and a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace” to conclude the ceremony.