Cory's great-uncle, Samuel Guillot, died during WWII. He is buried at the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France. We live less than an hour from there. When we got there we lucked out b/c a staff member, Mr Walters, a retired soldier, was able to focus on us entirely. He gave us a folder with brochures and papers with information to contact a couple of different agencies if we wanted to find out more information regarding Cory's uncle and his death. Mr Walters gave us a little background about the American cemeteries in Europe. >General John "Black Jack" Pershing pushed for a memorial to be set up and was the first chairman of the American Battle Monument Commission. The ABMC is an agency of the executive branch of the US government and was established on 4 March, 1923. Currently, the "ABMC administers, operates, and maintains 24 permanent American military burial grounds and 22 separate memorials, monuments and markers on foreign soil, and 3 memorials in the US. Presently, 124,921 US war dead are interred in these cemeteries." Please visit their website: American Battle Monuments Commission
Mr Walters picked up a bucket and escorted us out the visitor's building. First, we went to the chapel: The tall building is the chapel.
Mr Walters talked a little bit about the unit that Cory's uncle was in. He then showed us the machine that plays the music (bells). He turned it on and started some hymns playing and we walked out of the chapel to find the headstone. I recognized "How Great Thou Art" as we were walking. When we found the headstone Mr Walters took a bottle out of his bucket. It was sand. He rubbed the sand over Cory's uncle's name. The names are etched into the headstones and the headstones are white, so in a picture, the names don't show up well. The sand gets into the etching and makes the name darker. Then he told us that the sand comes from Omaha Beach in France (beach that the army landed on during D-Day). He then took our picture with the headstone. This video is actually after the "sanding" as you can tell by the sand in the name. But I wanted to be able to share the bells in the background, so I headed back to the headstone. (I hope the video posts!) This was my husband's great-uncle, and I, of course, didn't know him nor know his children/grandchildren, but I found the whole experience to be very moving. I got a little sniffly. He died and left behind a wife and 3 children, the youngest was only 4 months old. His wife always hoped, b/c of the original classification of MIA, that he would one day make it home. Just makes me sad.
Afterwards, we walked around the cemetery:
After we left the cemetery we went into St Avold to grab some lunch. We finally found a place and it was a real French restaurant. Of course it had to be with the name of Restaurnt Chez Erica. :) I had Bouche a la Reine (the one w/ the rice) and the pastry the gravy and meat and mushrooms was poured onto was a.ma.zing. Delicious! The funny thing about our experience at the restaurant is now we realize how much German we are learning b/c it was so hard to switch from saying "danke" (thank you in German) to "merci" (thank you in French). David is taking French this semester so we relied on him a little bit. How funny is that? LOL Here are some pics of our lunch and the restaurant: