My Uncle Jack was buried at Netherlands American Cemetery Margraten after his B-24 bomber was shot down over Holland during WWII.

He is memorialized with 10,022 other Americans, all of whose names are adopted by local individuals and families. The Dutch will never forget that these soldiers sacrificed their lives to protect their freedom.

Recently I received an email from the director of the cemetery’s “Faces of Margraten” project. This initiative has the goal to put photos of all soldiers adjacent to their markers during ceremonies to emphasize that those lost were people with families, not just names. They asked permission to use this picture of Jack that I’d sent them, and he now appears on large street banners and flyers that promote this year’s memorial week, May 1–5. The flyer heading translates to “Meet Jack Cahill.”

I can’t begin to say what a remarkable experience this is. I have become friends with the kind family who adopted Jack’s place of rest in 1996 — they refer to him as “our liberator.” On behalf of our family they visit our shared soldier regularly and bring him flowers and gratitude.

“Dear Mom: A Family Finds Its Past in World War II Letters Home” by Michelle Cahill is available on Amazon:

~ Michelle Cahill

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