Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Margraten Boys

Spring Break is always a great time of year for teachers and students. This year I was able to start reading a book I was very excited to get by Peter Schrijvers entitled The Margraten Boys: How a European Village Kept America's Liberators Alive. I never really knew about the adopt a grave program and the whole "adoption community"or how very much people in the Netherlands continue to keep alive the memory of US soldiers. This is a very moving book about how the Margraten Cemetery was formed. My uncle Juke is buried there (although his grave is tended to by a gentleman from Belgium) and some of my relatives have also visited there as well. I know one day I will too. But in the meantime this book will help me understand better what I'm looking at before I go.

One interesting tidbit I can use for Memorial Day this year in my classroom will be the story contained in the final chapter of the book about Willy James who finally received his Medal of Honor from Clinton in 1997. Since James is buried there, the only distinction made on the white Crosses or Stars of David in Margraten is for Medal of Honor winners. Their names and units are colored gold whereas the normal engraving is not.

 Cool stuff. It's always nice to know you're probably doing something that no other history teacher is doing. Not that I'm competitive or anything.

So, once again, my interest in my uncle Juke has led me in some interesting directions. God Bless the Dutch for their Debt of Honor, as the book puts it.


  1. we are the one's who have to say thank you to our American liberators.

    although i was born after the war i really wanted to adopt a soldier on the wall of the missing.

    now i have a friend in the USA ( his son)

    thanks from Margraten,

    Ed Weerts

  2. My Dad's uncle is buried there as well. The Dutch are amazing people. I have seen first hand their remembrance of our soldier's sacrifice. It's impressive. Thanks for passing the information on to another generation....