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    Kindergraves Memorial honors 451 American infants

    Kindergraves Memorial honors 451 American infants

    Photo By Senior Airman Madelyn Keech | 86th Airlift Wing, 21st Theater Sustainment Command and Kaiserslautern City Mayor’s...... read more read more



    Story by Senior Airman Madelyn Keech 

    86th Airlift Wing

    KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – A ceremony was held at the American Kindergraves Memorial at the Kaiserslautern City Cemetery in Kaiserslautern, Germany, May 18, 2024.

    The event, held annually each year on the Saturday after Mother’s Day, memorialized 451 American infants who died shortly after birth while their families were stationed in Germany 1952-1971.

    “We are dedicated to hold this event each year to remember the children and to honor the sacrifices of their parents,” said U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Bradley Green, U.S. Air Forces in Europe band member and Kindergraves Project officer. “We all recognize the parents who suffered through the pain and agony of losing their child and then having to leave their loved ones behind.”

    The children are buried in the heart of the Kaiserslautern City Cemetery where families have a place to mourn the loss of their infant. At the time of their deaths, transporting the departed stateside was not possible because the families would be required to cover the costs. Now, the military pays for deceased dependents to be returned home.

    The Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation was established in 1986 to upkeep the memorial site, organize annual ceremonies to honor the children who passed, and serve as a resource for the families who lost their loved ones.

    “This is such a place of remembrance,” said Manuel Steinbrenner, Kaiserslautern City Mayor’s Office counselor. “At that time, it was an important concern with the city of Kaiserslautern to create such a space, a special place of remembrance, where the deceased children rest in peace. The death of a loved one weighs heavily, especially when it is a child. We therefore have a special obligation to remember the 451 young people who were only granted such a short life.”

    Those who attended the ceremony were families of the children, local officials and members of the military community. Both a U.S. Army chaplain and a German chaplain blessed the graves before attendees placed wreaths, prayed and observed a moment of silence. The bugle call “Taps” was played, signifying the end of this year’s ceremony.

    “This memorial event demonstrates enduring love for our children and teaches us to cherish each day we have together,” said U.S. Army Col. Reid E. Furman, U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz commander. “This ceremony also commemorates the love, respect and sympathy between both the German and U.S. communities have for these 451 infants laid to rest here. Losing a child is one of the most traumatic and painful experiences but it can be even more difficult when it happens away from home or without the chance to bring a child back to the United States.”


    Date Taken: 05.20.2024
    Date Posted: 05.21.2024 09:52
    Story ID: 471852

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