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    Luxembourg, U.S. citizens gather in honor of Veterans Day

    Luxembourg, U.S. citizens gather in honor of Veterans Day

    Photo By Senior Airman Valerie Seelye | U.S. Air Force Col. Jason Bailey, 52nd Fighter Wing commander, lays a wreath in honor...... read more read more

    LUXEMBOURG CITY, LUXEMBOURG

    11.15.2018

    Story by Airman 1st Class Kyle Cope 

    52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs

    LUXEMBOURG CITY, LUXEMBOURG – Luxembourgers and Americans gathered at Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Luxembourg, Nov. 11, 2018, to honor the sacrifices made by U.S. armed forces around the world.

    Mr. James Randolph Evans, U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, and U.S. Air Force Col. Jason E. Bailey, 52nd Fighter Wing commander, participated in the remembrance ceremony.

    Evans reminded those present of the sacrifices made by American service members over the past centuries. These sacrifices are still being made today and are marked by grave markers in military cemeteries around the world.

    “When I look out and see these markers I realize that every marker represents a story, it represents a connection among all of us,” Evans said. “Freedom is never free, nor has it ever been. Part of the enormous cost of freedom is now squarely before us to see. While we get to enjoy our freedom today, these are the soldiers that set out to pay the ultimate price for us. They could only dream of what we now take for granted and that is the dream of being free, of being our own people. It is important that we never allow their service for our liberties to be overlooked or forgotten. That is why the United States dedicates this day Veterans Day to honor American veterans, both living and dead, who have answered the call of our country.”

    In addition to the significance of honoring Veterans Day, the event marked the centennial anniversary of Armistice Day, the day hostilities ended in World War I.

    “The significance of today really cannot be overstated,” Bailey said. “When you think about the opportunity for our team to come here and be a part of this, in particular not only Veterans Day, but the 100 year anniversary of Armistice Day, the end of what we as a society had hoped would be the war to end all wars. For that to end and for us to be here 100 years later with the opportunity to not only pay tribute to those who are buried here in the cemetery, to those who are serving now and have served, but also to take a moment of solemnity when you consider what it meant to end the Great War.”

    The sacrifices made by Americans soldiers in WWI continued up to the last minute of the war as almost 3,000 American soldiers died the last day of the war.

    WWI ended the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, Bailey said. As we remember the end of WWI it is significant the last casualty of the war was an American soldier who was killed at 10:59am.

    That American was a German-American bank teller by the name of Henry Gunther who grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and was drafted into the U.S. Army. Gunther was charging an enemy machine gun position when he was shot in the head and killed at the age of 23.

    The sacrifices made in Europe by American soldiers like Gunther are still remembered decades later by the people of Luxembourg.

    “When I first arrived here in Luxembourg, I was struck by how often I was thanked by Luxembourgers for the sacrifice made by American veterans, for things they did 100 or 75 years ago, Evans said. “The expressions of gratitude are heartfelt, real, and they are humbling.”

    Luxembourg Cemetery serves as the final resting place of 5,076 American service members, of which there are 22 sets of brothers buried side by side and 101 unknowns whose graves state “Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known but to God”.

    Bailey encouraged Spangdahlem Air Base to pause and reflect upon the sacrifices made to secure peace and prosperity and to move forward in carrying on that mission by using the inspiration of the heritage of our past.

    On Friday I asked the Spangdahlem community to take a few moments to reflect about today, Bailey said. The members of the 52nd Fighter Wing are busy doing many vital things to ensure peace and prosperity. It is easy to become consumed in the grind of the day and it is good to occasionally pause to look back at the heritage that those who have gone before us have established. It is important to commemorate the sacrifices they have made and to think about those close to us who have not only sacrificed, but have served. We then use their example as a springboard and inspiration as we set ourselves forward in the year to come.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 11.15.2018
    Date Posted: 11.15.2018 03:13
    Story ID: 300055
    Location: LUXEMBOURG CITY, LU

    Web Views: 89
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