THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
Earlier this week Cambridge American Cemetery (CAAC) hosted a special event to mark Memorial Day, as part of a series of tributes that were hosted at American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) sites across Europe.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the traditional large gatherings seen as part of Memorial Day haven't been possible this year, but in keeping with the ABMC's commitment to commemoration, a private ceremony took place at 1pm on Monday May 25 at the steps of the Memorial Chapel at Cambridge American Cemetery.
In attendance were US Ambassador to the UK, Robert Wood 'Woody' Johnson; Rear Admiral David Manero (Senior Defense Official / Defense Attache, US Embassy London); Colonel Lee Wingfield (Air Attache, US Embassy London); and Matthew Brown (Superintendent, Cambridge American Cemetery). They were joined by Mr Brown's family, Melissa and Emma Brown, by CAAC Associate Tracey Haylock, and CAAC Mechanic Simon McCall. The ceremony involved a wreath laying and a moment of silence.
The importance of commemoration was emphasised when we spoke to CAAC's Superintendent Matthew Brown earlier this year. Explaining the ABMC's role, Mr Brown told us that "Of the missions I’ve taken on in my career, none have been as important as the ABMC mission to commemorate the service, achievements, and sacrifice of our American military service members and civilian volunteers who fought to win our freedom over tyranny. The mission is both patriotic and personal to me. I’ve spent my entire adult life in the service to my country, defending the principles of freedom that we hold dear, and I cherish the opportunity to look after the memorials and graves of likeminded patriotic service members."
On the day of the ceremony itself, Ambassador Johnson also tweeted his pride at the ocassion, writing that he was "Proud to honor our fallen soldiers at Cambridge American Cemetery today".
As part of the ABMC's mission to continue to commemorate, they also broadcast two virtual ceremonies live via Facebook. The ceremonies, which you can stream from ABMC's Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/pg/usabmc/videos, focused on a WWI cemetery and a WWII cemetery.
To find out more about the ABMC and their work, go to https://www.abmc.gov