Friday Matt took his soldiers on a spiritual fitness trip. “Mechanized Ministry” he calls it.
Because they were going to see three very interesting sites the boys and I tagged along. Sort of. We left an hour after the soldiers and came back home earlier… but we were together for the most important stuff.
I snapped this picture as we crossed the border from Germany into Luxemburg (or Luxembourg, depending on where you see it written).
As we pulled into the parking lot of the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial I told the boys that they needed to be very respectful. Whey they saw Matt, who was already in the middle of the guided tour, they were not to run to him. I explained that being in a cemetery/memorial meant that we needed to be as respectful as if we were at a funeral because we were there to pay respects to the men who had died while fighting in WWII.
They boys were very respectful and I was pleased that they listened as the Superintendent shared many interesting facts and stories of those who were buried here.
The most famous soldier who rests peacefully here is George Patton, “America’s Fightingest General.”
The picture below is the marker for Nancy Leo, the only female soldier buried here. If you look closely the American flag is visible just over the marker. It was a beautiful sight to see that flag waving. One thing I miss about America is seeing the stars and stripes flying all over the place.
Within moments all three boys noticed the star shaped markers. Individually they came to me and asked what they meant. One at a time I whispered that the men buried under the star markers were Jewish. We are about to do an in-depth study of this time period because we have planned a trip to Amsterdam to visit the Anne Frank House. This part of homeschooling is my favorite… studying something on our time frame and then having the freedom and luxury to go to the sites that Matt and I only read about during our years in school.
During our time to walk freely through the cemetery the boys also noticed the stones on the Jewish markers. When someone visits a Jewish grave they place a rock on top to show that the person buried had been remembered and visited. I overheard one of our soldiers yesterday sharing with another that the Jewish families would leave notes on the markers and place a rock on top to keep the note still. Eventually they would just leave a stone, as a stone is forever, while paper rots away. (There are many explanations of this tradition and as far as I can tell, none can be determined as the official one.)
Below: Medal of Honor recipient, Day Turner.
This was a somber field trip but one that I believe will be etched on their hearts for the duration of their lives. From now on, as they study more and more about the history of WWII, they can recall the time they visited Patton’s grave.
After our time at the American War Cemetery and Memorial we drove to the other two sites on our list of things to see. (Really REALLY old stuff…) I’ll share those tomorrow but as for a teaser, one of the sites was built in 180 AD.
Not 1180 AD, but 180 AD.