A memorial; from idea to unveiling ceremony
When did I start it in my mind? In my emails I found the first message with the idea on a memorial for the 10 men crew of the 42-3436 in august 2016. And in my mind the dedication date was set easy: 14-10-2018 - 75 years after the crash. It became one day earlier.
My initial idea was to place it on or near the US Army POMS site in Eygelshoven.
There the tail part landed, nearby the left wing and just across the border near Finkenrath the rest of this B-17. But inside would be no good for nobody can entry there. So the idea was split it into two - inside and outside the base.
Inside: street name signs at the US Army Base
So I switched to finding a public place, but a ‘memorial something’ on the POMS was not out of my mind. On Google Maps I saw the plan of the base with enough streets to give them a name.
So in February 2017 I wrote a letter to the US Army Base commander asking him to name streets after the 5 killed airman. I put it in the letter box at the entrance, but I got no response - yet.
After some unsuccessful waiting I went up to the entrance with a copy of the letter and asked to speak with the CO of the watch at the gate. He accepted my letter with the promise to pass it on. As it showed it ended up with the Dutch base commander; LTC Dyon Reijnen.
Then things went fast and from this immediately warm contact also the ceremony at the cemetery would benefit very much.
LTC Reijnen takes almost all of the credit for the unveiling ceremony of the memorial at the cemetery. Without his help and contacts it would have been a totally different unveiling ceremony. No military music, no honor guard of Dutch and American air man, no banner guard….
Public: memorial stone on the RC cemetery
Some things regarding memorials I learned from my helping Mr Hein Jansen with the unveiling of his Lancaster-memorial in Schinveld. And also from visiting the dedication in Beek in October 2016. And via Peter Heckmann’s Lancaster-memorial in Kerkrade-Bleijerheide a contact with the City of Kerkrade was easily established.
The option of a large stone with a memorial plaque on it, had the full support of the City of Kerkrade. For me - if possible - at the entrance of the site of the 405th Army Field Support Battalion-Benelux. There nearby the tail part was found.
The City of Kerkrade added the idea to place it on the RC cemetery some half mile away from the place mentioned above. And the parish council adapted this proposal so on 8 May 2018 the stone was placed at the entrance of said cemetery.
Street name signs
Together with LTC Reijnen I puzzled on what to put on the street name signs given de size of the signs and the information we wanted to communicate. Martins’s birthday appeared to be different than known to us and Bob Wells’ middle name will stay a mystery to us for ever.
These is how they look; like the one of Leonard Roy Henlin Street.
And Donald Paul Breeden Street.
Two - of many - photo’s of the unveiling ceremony at the US Army Base
Text on the plaque
Together with Mr Frank Ramakers of the City of Kerkrade and Mrs Sue Fox Moyer of the Second Schweinfurt Memorial Association (SSMA) I worked on a text for the plaque on the stone.
This is the result we unveiled on Saturday 13-10-2018.
With on top the silhouette of this B-17, first the story of this plane on 14-10-1943 in English, than in Dutch, followed by a ‘roll call’ for the missing and the dead crew members and last a list of those who survived and became a POW.
This memorial is now on Traces of War.
Some - of many - photo’s of the unveiling
Everybody on his/her place?
Entrance of three high ranking officers; to honor them with ‘ere-roffels’ from the band.
Opening speech by the Mayor of Kerkrade Mr Jos Som.
The story of the crew of A/C 42-3436 told by my sister Mrs Marianne Slangen.
The unveiling by Mayor Mr Jos Som and Mrs Erica Stern; the granddaughter of survivor Mr Arthur Linrud.
First wreath is laid by Mayor Mr Jos Som.
Col. Scott Fisher laid a wreath in behalf of the People of the United States.
Pastoor/Reverend Marc Heemels said a prayer on peace with the words of Saint Francis.
The ‘Last Post’ was played.
Mr Robert McCaleb, chairman of the SSMA, held a speech.
After more wreaths were laid both the national flags were hoisted to top of the masts.
Both national anthems were played.
These three officers opened the ‘defilé’ passing by the memorial and offering their salute to the crew members.
Four happy persons after the ceremony: Mrs Peggy Linrud, Mrs Erica Stern (daughter of Mrs Peggy Linrud), Mrs JoAnn Linrud and Wim Slangen.
Photo’s from Peter Trompetter, Louis Meulstee, Roy Göttgens and Wim Slangen.
Read the publications on the unveilings
Back to the story I started to find out why and how Donald Paul Breeden could get missing.