Day 3 – July 16 – Cambridge American Cemetery

Thursday, July 16 – Cambridge American Cemetery

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Understanding Sacrifice: An ABMC Education Project. 

Amanda Kordeliski

Irving Middle School

Norman, Oklahoma

Our last day in England was an emotional one for me. We visited the Cambridge American Cemetery in the morning and I eulogized my Fallen Hero. This was the first ABMC cemetery I had visited and was overwhelmed at the site. The nerves I had for my eulogy presentation now gone, I was able to wander the grounds and just take in the experience of a World War II cemetery for the late morning.

wallmissing2

The afternoon began with a picnic lunch in a small area outside the Cambridge American Cemetery. I was still reflecting on the peacefulness and beauty of the cemetery and the attention to detail given to each individual name. There are 3,812 headstones in the cemetery. What I did not realize was the sheer number of names on the walls of the missing at Cambridge. These walls contain 5,127 names of servicemen and women that were never found. I spent a great deal of time on the long afternoon bus ride to Portsmouth just thinking of their families and the lack of closure I would feel if my loved one was never recovered. I realized it is easy to briefly scan the tablets or walls of the missing at each cemetery and focus on the thousands of crosses and Stars of David arranged in beautiful formation across a pristine lawn.  The graves are where your attention is drawn. The names on the walls are just as important and Cambridge, with its vast wall of the missing, really brought this home for me.

For me, the afternoon was peaceful and satisfying. I know from talking to the family of my fallen hero, Homer McClure, that no one was ever able to come to the United Kingdom and visit his grave. That I was afforded the opportunity to stand at his grave site and offer a few words in remembrance was humbling and emotional. There are 158 Oklahomans buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery and I was only able to tell the story of one of them. I wanted to think on all the others whose stories   still need a voice.

Wall missing

Wall of the Missing, Cambridge American Cemetery

amanda fallen hero

Grave of my Fallen Hero

 

Applications are currently being accepted for World War II in the Mediterranean. Click here for more information and an application. The application deadline is midnight on Friday, September 4, 2015.

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3 Comments

Filed under history

3 responses to “Day 3 – July 16 – Cambridge American Cemetery

  1. My namesake, my mother’s brother is buried there. He was a B-17 co-pilot, killed on his 4th mission. There is a marker for him in his home town, Farmington, Maine, where the rest of his family is buried. I visited the Cambridge cemetery in 1972, and may return some day. There is a museum in Arizona that honors all the men of the 390th Bomb Group, that my uncle was assigned to, and I hope to visit there as well.

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