Memorial Day is traditionally marked in the United States with a solemn recognition of the brave men and women who have served this country and paid the ultimate sacrifice in the face of combat and struggle. But around the world, there are places where Memorial Day is marked in a special way — with flags of both the US and host nations marking the graves of those who never returned home.
Consider the American military cemetery in Normandy, France. Every year, caretakers dedicate hours to brushing sand from Omaha Beach over the white marble markers, giving Graves of the thousands of soldiers a special touch. On Memorial Day, the graves are marked with both an American and French flag. The sand gives the letters in the markers a gold coloring.
Every #MemorialDay, I share this video.
French caretakers take the sand from Omaha Beach in Normandy and scrub them into the letters to give them the brown/gold coloring.
They do this for all 9,386 soldiers who died.
France also gave us this land as American soil. pic.twitter.com/TfE6gFD6lD
— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) May 29, 2023
Or the Henri-Chapelle American Military Cemetery in Plombieres, Belgium, where citizens mark Memorial Day by honoring the casualties with both an American and a Belgian flag draped across each marker.
#MemorialDay 🇺🇸 at the #HenriChapelle #American #Cemetery, the largest #American #cemetery in #Belgium 🇧🇪🇺🇸. 7,987 servicemen are buried here.
The first #MemorialDay ceremony held at the #cemetery was on 30 May 1945 in the presence of Generals #DwighDEisenhower and #OmarBradley pic.twitter.com/nr7O78UbsN
— Nicole Conroth 🇧🇪🇪🇺🇦🇹🎶💖 (@ConrothN) May 29, 2023
In a similar way, the Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten is marked with both Dutch and American flags.
Memorial day at the Margraten American Cemetery in the Netherlands. pic.twitter.com/RMbFaKAFTa
— The Battlefield Explorer (@battlefieldexpl) May 28, 2023
US Memorial Day commemoration at the Netherlands American Cemetery with out @WWIImuseum Easy Company Tour yesterday. A wonderful and impressive experience for the museum’s guests. #ww2travel #educationaltravel #easycompany #bandofbrothers pic.twitter.com/GS6L360NoE
— Edwin Popken (@edwinpopken) May 29, 2023
The Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno is marked with both Italian and American flags.
Ambassador Donnelly was honored to speak at the Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremony today at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial in Nettuno. pic.twitter.com/vukvnDOTPf
— U.S. in Holy See (@USinHolySee) May 27, 2023
Even the graves at the North Africa American Cemetery in Tunisia is marked with both Tunisian and American flags.
MG Todd Wasmund joined Commisioner Kemp, @usabmc, and Ambassador Joey Hood, @usembassytunis for a special #MemorialDay ceremony at the North Africa American Cemetery in Tunisia marking the 80th anniversary of the end of combat in Tunisia during #WWII 🇺🇲@DeptofDefense @USMCFEA pic.twitter.com/gIXkjBd2Cq
— U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (@SETAF_Africa) May 29, 2023
In the Pacific the American Cemetery in Manila is marked with both Filipino and American flags.
— 🚶🏻Curtis S. Chin (@CurtisSChin) May 29, 2023
These countries not only honor the sacrifice of the fallen military by marking their graves with flags – they also stand in unity with their neighbors across the seas. It is a special reminder that although they may be geographically distanced from each other, Americans have fought for liberty and freedom around the world.
Sadly, people in other countries appear to respect our fallen soldiers more than we do at home.