Today we met up with my son's Tiger troop which joined the neighborhood Boy Scout troop for some community service at the American Madingley Cemetery which is a World War II cemetery. The 3 or 4 acres of the cemetery is official American ground given to the Americans after the war by Cambridge University. While there are several American cemeteries in Europe this is the only one in England.
The boys were first given a tour of the cemetery, first we were shown the wall of the missing. There are over 8000 names listed on this wall. Glen Miller and Joseph Kennedy are listed on this wall.
The wall as well of as the grave markers are all made from white marble quarried in Italy.
There is one Medal of Honor listed on the wall. His name is Leon Vance Jr . After surviving an horrific airplane crash and losing his foot, he was being sent home to recuperate when his plane went missing.
While walking around the cemetery it was pointed out the many different grave markings.
Most of the grave markings are of the Latin cross but interspersed there are a few star of Davids.
There are also 24 unknown graves. With the grave inscription of "Here rests in Honored Glory A COMRADE IN ARMS Known only to GOD"
We were also told there were 18 women buried here most were nurses during the war.
While showing the kids the markers the guide also had pictures of the men he was talking about. His point was to show the boys that these men had wives, children, hopes and dreams before going off to war and sacrificed their lives so that the rest of us could live free. I found this very moving.
Each of their stories were unique and showed courage and bravery. The pictures show the men at home and with their families. The cemetery received these pictures from families and there is a huge office on the grounds which files and stores these stories so that they can be told to visitors.
The man on the horse fought in WWI and also in WWII. He was a wealthy man who won an Olympic medal in Polo in 1928. He died while doing a test flight for a new aircraft.
After the tour we were given buckets and brushes and we set off to scrub the graves. Cleaning the stones of dirt and bird droppings.
All the boys pose after completing an hour of cleaning. I thought the boys behaved very well and were very respectful of this site. It truly was an honor to do this service.