Thursday, July 16 – Cambridge American Cemetery
Irving Middle School
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.
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 of the Missing, Cambridge American Cemetery
Grave of my Fallen Hero
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