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Posted: 7/21/2021 9:57:24 AM EDT
Another thread HERE
Another thread HERE
Another thread HERE

TLDR crowd, sorry about this.

I'm Belgian and I visit WW1 and WW2 memorials in my free time, remembering the sacrifices people made so that I can live free.

Today (July 21st) is our Independence Day, so I had a day off work and decided to visit one on my list. It was the grave of one particular man. It is located at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Neurpré, Belgium. The Ardennes American Cemetery is the final resting place for 5,162 Americans, with 65 percent of those being fallen airmen of the U.S. Army Air Forces. It features a chapel with a stunning mosaic depiction of the ETO, with outside on granite slabs the names of 463 of the missing, whose remains were never recovered. The façade on the far end that overlooks the burial area bears the insignia of the major U.S. units that operated in northwest Europe in World War II.

This cemetery is unique among all American cemeteries as it served as the central identification point for the entire European Theater of Operations from the last days of the war until 1960. As usual it is well-kept, several graves had small bouquets of flowers next to them, or candles. The groundskeepers were doing some maintenance in the rows. Several families walking around.


This is the chapel as viewed from the parking lot. The cemetery itself is behind the chapel, down the hill.


This is the back of the chapel, am now standing with my back to the cemetery.


One of the granite slabs with missing names. MoH recipient name in gold. Citation HERE


And then you turn around...


After taking in that sobering view, you walk all the way to the end. It takes a good 10 minutes. At the end, there's the flag.


This is the man I was looking for.




His story; James was born May 2, 1921. He was co-pilot in the crew of the B-17 #42-31941 "Big Stoop" during a mission to bomb Berlin. The plane was shot down by enemy fighters west of Bückwitz Lake. Eight crew members were taken prisoner, and two were killed. On Sept. 7, 1944, the War Department received word through the International Red Cross that Lieutenant Dennis was killed in action over Berlin on May 24. He had formerly been reported as missing. Propaganda ministry official Alfred Ingemar Berndt murdered Dennis after Dennis had parachuted from his plane and was captured. Berndt halted his car on Hamburger Chaussee in Segeletz where Dennis was being held, and shot him dead in the street. Dennis was initially buried at Friedhof Segeletz on 26 May 1944. His remains were later interred at the Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial.

More info HERE

He now rests in plot B, row 12, grave 12.

Now we return to the chapel. Inside there is a massive depiction of the liberation of Europe. Pictures do not do this justice, how detailed and immense they are.



Battle of the Bulge;


Detail up close;


The Air War over Germany, incredibly detailed;


On each side of the altar, these inscriptions;



I can only end with this;


Thank you for reading. Let's remember James, and his comrades.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:02:15 AM EDT
[#1]
Wow, what an impressive memorial.  Thanks for the great pictures
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:02:31 AM EDT
[#2]
Thank you for posting these sites for us, as most of us will never get a chance to see them in person.

Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:03:39 AM EDT
[#3]
Thank You
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:06:33 AM EDT
[#4]
Thanks for your reverence.
Ever get to the Luxembourg/american cemetary? Great uncle is there
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:07:35 AM EDT
[#5]
Excellent thread.  Thank you OP.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:09:38 AM EDT
[#6]
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:10:09 AM EDT
[#7]
I hope Alfred Ingemar Berndt met an untimely demise.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:13:21 AM EDT
[#8]
Amazing. Thank you for sharing op.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:15:14 AM EDT
[#9]
Very somber place to reflect upon the sacrifices of our men (& women).
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:17:17 AM EDT
[#10]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I hope Alfred Ingemar Berndt met an untimely demise.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
I hope Alfred Ingemar Berndt met an untimely demise.


He did.

Quoted:
Thanks for your reverence.
Ever get to the Luxembourg/american cemetary? Great uncle is there


Been there. Msg me your great-uncle's name if you want, I'll go say hello next time I go there.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:21:35 AM EDT
[#11]
Thank you for posting this.

Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:25:52 AM EDT
[#12]
@Too-Tall

Thank you for posting. Very moving. What I did not know was that of all the cemeteries, they only represent 39% of the war dead.  That is an unreal number when you see a collage of the cemetery photos. Thank you for taking the time to visit the resting place of our people.  Proud to call you an ally.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:28:18 AM EDT
[#13]
Thank you, OP, for remembering them.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:29:17 AM EDT
[#14]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


He did.



View Quote


Details?

Thanks for posting this, from an Arizona member...
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:31:50 AM EDT
[#15]
Thank you OP.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:31:52 AM EDT
[#16]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Wow, what an impressive memorial.  Thanks for the great pictures
View Quote

Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:34:36 AM EDT
[#17]


Thank you for visiting/remembering them, and posting.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:37:35 AM EDT
[#18]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Thanks for your reverence.
Ever get to the Luxembourg/american cemetary? Great uncle is there
View Quote

Attachment Attached File


Here is a pic from that cemetery.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:43:01 AM EDT
[#19]
As others have said: Thank you OP for your reverence, appreciation, and acknowledgment of the sacrifices made. Additionally,  thank you to your Countrymen who continue to maintain this (and other) cemeteries.  

I’m sure you love your home Country but I have to say, you’d make a great American.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:43:56 AM EDT
[#20]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Thank You
View Quote

This.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 10:50:52 AM EDT
[#21]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:


Details?

Thanks for posting this, from an Arizona member...
View Quote


Berndt was an interesting character, and a Nazi to the core (and to the end).

He was a journalist by trade, joined the NSDAP in 22. His writings made sure he became the Chief Editor of the Deutsche Nachrichtenbüro (BND), the Nazi Press Office.

He was hired by Goebbles in 1935, served as director responsible (at times) for propaganda, literature, censorship and ideological control of writers.

When war broke out in 1939 he asked to be released from his duty and volunteered in the Wehrmacht. He was a Sergeant in Schwere Panzerabteilung 605 during the Blitzkrieg in France. He wrote about his experiences of that time.

In 1941 he was seconded to the Afrika Korps where he served on the staff of Rommel. After the invasion of Russia he was ordered back to Berlin by Goebbles. He kept travelling back to Rommel, becoming his trusted confidant, and is the supposed creator of the 'Desert Fox" role.

After the landings in Normandy he visited Rommel at his HQ in Paris, and became extremely pessimistic about the fortunes of Nazi Germany. Goebbles didn't like that, and sacked him from the Propaganda Ministry.

Again he volunteered for combat, and was appointed SS-Hauptsturmführer (Captain) in the Waffen-SS.

He was serving as the battalion commander of the Second Battalion, SS Panzer Regiment 5 "Viking" when he was killed in Veszprém, Hungary, on March 28 1945. Russian dive bomber attack.

Good riddance.

Link Posted: 7/21/2021 11:05:05 AM EDT
[#22]
Thank you. Ally.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 11:09:29 AM EDT
[#23]
Blown away. How amazingly awesome and humbling.

Thank you OP.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 11:18:07 AM EDT
[#24]
Wow. Thank you, Too-Tall, I really appreciate that. Great pictures and write-up.

And fuck you, Alfred Ingemar Berndt. May you be eternally sodomized by Frenchmen in hell.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 11:34:48 AM EDT
[#25]
Very cool

Plus 100

thanks for sharing
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 11:36:17 AM EDT
[#26]
I will never get there to see it in person, thank you OP for posting.

brought a tear to my eyes
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 11:40:02 AM EDT
[#27]
My 12 year old son and I spent several hours walking among the white marble headstones at the Ardennes Cemetery back in 1999. We were alone except for the 2 American supervisors and a Belgian (Turkish) landscaping crew.  The guest entry book was sparse with American signatures.
Pictures do not capture the somber magnificence of this Cemetery.  The American Battle Monuments Commission overseas maintains dozens of these. They are all but forgotten to American travelers. There are 3 such cemeteries within 30 miles of one another in Belgium and the Netherlands. Margraten Cemetery has over 200,000 Dutch visitors per year, and nearly every grave has a sponsor family who knows the story of the fallen American within it.

We spent a week touring the Ardennes battlefields. We sat hunched in old foxholes, wandered through forests whose floors were pockmarked with impact craters, found bits and pieces of combat debris, and traced routes of retreats and advances. We had a small RV and spent nights in the forest battlefields.

My son became an American patriot that week. He was able to grasp the sacrifice made FOR HIM by young men that never got to live their full lives.

Our 10 days in the Ardennes cost about as much as if I had taken him to Disneyworld in Florida.  I got to do my historical research, and he got to see things he could hardly explain to his buddies back home. We have since experienced Normandy and the Meuse Argonne together.




Link Posted: 7/21/2021 11:45:31 AM EDT
[#28]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Thank you for posting this.

View Quote

Link Posted: 7/21/2021 11:47:18 AM EDT
[#29]
Truly outstanding thread OP.

Thank you!
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 11:53:45 AM EDT
[#30]
Thank you
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 11:59:31 AM EDT
[#31]
This is a sobering thread. Thank you for sharing OP.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:02:50 PM EDT
[#32]
Thank you!
Not too long at all. I appreciate what you've done by documenting your visit.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:12:36 PM EDT
[#33]
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:18:47 PM EDT
[#34]
Thanks for sharing OP.  My grandfather fought at the Bulge near Bullingen.  His batallion was one of the engineer units that delayed the advance of kampfgruppe Peiper.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:19:06 PM EDT
[#35]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Thank you OP for sharing

A little more info on B17 Serial No: 42-31941
View Quote


No worries. Great find that website!
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:24:38 PM EDT
[#36]
Cool thread and beautiful place.

A thought that scares me is that after WW3, nothing like this will probably exist.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:31:43 PM EDT
[#37]
OP-
perhaps I missed it- is there a lineage to Lt Dennis?
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:33:23 PM EDT
[#38]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Margraten Cemetery has over 200,000 Dutch visitors per year, and nearly every grave has a sponsor family who knows the story of the fallen American within it.
View Quote


I've never sponsored a grave, and there's an excellent reason for it.

The schools

A few years ago there was an item in the news about schools asking people to give up their sponsoring, because they were having a hard time finding graves to allocate to students. Schools would go to the cemeteries and ask to adopt say 10 graves for 100 students (students would do research, and write a paper/do a presentation on it). But they were running out of graves. Turns out at the end of the schoolyear schools would ask the students to relinquish the graves, unless one or more of them wanted to stay involved. And they often did.

I'm very happy leaving it to the young kids to learn about your countrymen and history. It's important.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:39:05 PM EDT
[#39]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
OP-
perhaps I missed it- is there a lineage to Lt Dennis?
View Quote


No not at all. These threads are all pure chance. I actually found out about his story through researching Rommel. So I looked up where he was. Also I read alot about history and WW2, and I always try to find the grave of people mentioned in books. And I visit them. This is what happened in this case. I'm fortunate enough to be right in the middle of Europe.

1 hour to Margraten American Cemetery
1 hour to Ardennes American Cemetery
1 hour to Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery
2 hours to Luxembourg American Cemetery
3 hours to Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery

I've been doing this for years now, but only decided to post these series (like the threads linked at the very top) because I'd always read quite disheartening things about "our useless allies in Europe", here on arfcom...I started this to show not everyone in Europe is a raging anti-American
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:52:17 PM EDT
[#40]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Excellent thread.  Thank you OP.
View Quote


Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:54:36 PM EDT
[#41]
We really need to get down there. Stupid lockdown started right around the time we PCSed.

One of my oldest sons (11) loves history, this (and other American cemeteries) will be must visits along with Normandy. Good thing we have a lot more time over here.

I also need to get down to Ypres to visit the mass grave my great great uncle Johann is currently residing in. That will be an interesting visit.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 12:55:48 PM EDT
[#42]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Thank you for posting these sites for us, as most of us will never get a chance to see them in person.

View Quote

Yes,thank you.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 1:04:58 PM EDT
[#43]
My wife's father fought in the Ardennes, God rest his soul. He lost his hearing there from all of the shelling and he lived to the age of 92. He was in the 80th division, 317th infantry regiment. We have his uniform and ribbons.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 1:08:02 PM EDT
[#44]
Awesome post, 0P. A rarity for GD.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 1:08:59 PM EDT
[#45]
I was going to do my bi-annual Euro vacation to Belgium and Luxembourg, and see all the WW1/2 shit there after visiting France in 2018.  Alas China had other plans.  

One day.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 1:33:31 PM EDT
[#46]
Best thread this year.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 1:33:33 PM EDT
[#47]
Thanks for posting this!  

Link Posted: 7/21/2021 1:38:01 PM EDT
[#48]
Thanks for posting this Too-Tall. I'm hoping to go to Tomorrowland next year and I would like to visit WWII related sites like this while I'm in the area.
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 1:38:20 PM EDT
[#49]
Pics blocked at work, for later
Link Posted: 7/21/2021 1:50:08 PM EDT
[#50]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Quoted:
Thanks for sharing OP.  My grandfather fought at the Bulge near Bullingen.  His batallion was one of the engineer units that delayed the advance of kampfgruppe Peiper.
View Quote


My dad was an engineer there too, around Trois-Ponts.
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