Long Island WWII veterans to honor Dutch caretakers of American military cemetery

Long Island WWII veterans to honor Dutch caretakers of American military cemetery
American Military Cemetery at Margraten

Up to 10 WWII Long Island Veterans will fly to the Netherlands in May 2020 for “Liberation 75 Celebrations.” This celebrates the 75th anniversary of Dutch liberation from German occupation, and our Heroes will take part in it.

To make this trip possible, a fundraising effort called Mission Margraten 75 is being launched and the kick-off event is Veterans Day, Nov. 11 at Memories Bar & Grill, Williston Park 6 to 9 p.m. Advance registration for the Nov. 11 kick-off is not necessary. Donations of $5.00 per person will be collected at the door.

For over 75 years, Dutch families have cared for 8,300 graves of fallen Americans like they were their own sons. Three times a year, Dutch families place flowers, flags, and photographs on these hallowed graves.

It’s a testament to the love our Dutch friends have for their fallen American liberators. In May 2020, our Veterans will take part in ceremonies to honor and thank these beloved Dutch families.

Our WWII Veterans will attend Liberation 75 ceremonies throughout the week of May 18 with an important highlight on March 22, when they are guests of honor at Hotel Heerlen for a concert attended by 900 Dutch Grave Adoption Families.

There, our heroes will present symbolic pieces of Kershaw Granite to the families. This same granite was used to construct the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. Our Veterans will also attend a Dutch Memorial Day Ceremony at the American Military Cemetery in Margraten, Holland.

Mission Margraten 75 is spearheaded by Roger Kilfoil, vice president of Honor Flight Long Island, along with Gerrianne Puntervold and Sergeant First Class Patrick D’Ambrosio. The campaign is in partnership with Boots on the Ground, a post 9/11 nonprofit organization that provides Veterans with opportunities to get involved and stay connected by assisting their fellow Veterans here on Long Island. Up to ten WWII Vets will be accompanied by one guardian per Hero for the week-long Liberation 75 celebrations. “In addition, Mission Margraten 75 is actively seeking a physician plus a nurse to join our team for this historic trip to Holland,” Kilfoil said.

Puntervold adds that the Mission Margraten 75 team is working to raise $75,000 to cover the expenses for the trip and notes that “100% of money raised will be used solely for the Veterans trip.” Checks are welcome and payable to “Boots on the Ground, NY” with “MM75” on your memo line. Mail to: Boots on the Ground, NY, PO Box # 675, Bellport, New York 11713. All gifts are fully tax-deductible and tax certificates are available on request.

There’s Facebook & GoFundMe pgs., https://www.gofundme.com /f/mission-margraten-75. Please visit: www.missionmargraten.org & send inquiries to: [email protected]. Call Roger Kilfoil for Sponsorship opportunities at (631) 766-3296 or [email protected].

Submitted by Honor Flight Long Island

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