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Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister expresses support for The Faces of Margraten

Published: Friday, May 02 2014

Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Frans Timmermans has expressed his support for the The Faces of Margraten during a speech at Arlington Cemetery this week. The minister commemorated the American liberators of the Netherlands during World War Two, including Pfc Leo Lichten, who has grave at the American War Cemetery and Memorial Netherlands in Margraten has been adopted by Timmermans. In his speech, Timmermans said that he "very much support their desire to collect photos of these men, to give these heroes a face."

"And the personal stories of these men and women deserved to be retold," the Foreign Affairs minister further remarked. Timmermans encouraged everyone to share the stories and photos of the soldiers with each other. "Incredibly, there are still soldiers buried there of whom there is no picture, no recollection whatsoever."

In 2014, the year in which the Netherlands starts to celebrate and commemorate the 70th anniversary of its liberation by allied forces, The project The Faces of Margraten by the Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven (Foundation United Adopters American War Graves) aims to give a face to as many of the American soldiers buried in or memorialized at the American War Cemetery in Margraten, the Netherlands as possible. During a yet-to-be-determined Memorial Weekend at the cemetery in May 2015, all personal photos will be put at these soldiers' graves and in front of their names on the Walls of the Missing. In this way, the names on the crosses and on the walls, and thus the American liberations, will be given a face for the first time, 70 years after the end of World War II.


Foreign Affairs Minister Timmermans supports the efforts to give a face to the American soldiers in Margraten, Timmermans said at Arlington Cemetery. Photo: Stephen Voss.

The foundation encourages everyone who has a photo of one of the in Margraten buried or memorialized soldiers to submit that photo through the website Earlier this week the foundation reported that in the past few weeks 238 new personal photos had been submitted. Therefore, the number of soldiers that will be given a face through the project now totals 2,227. However, 10,023 American soldiers are buried or memorialized in Margraten.

The project The Faces of Margraten is initiated by the Stichting Verenigde Adoptanten Amerikaanse Oorlogsgraven, a Dutch non-profit organization that consists of the Dutch and Belgian adopters of American war graves at American War Cemeteries in the Netherlands and Belgium. In particular, the foundation conducts research to the men and women buried there. Information and photos found are stored in the online-accessible Fields of Honor - Database of the foundation. The foundation does, however, not maintain any of the "Adopt-A-Grave" programs that exist for various overseas American cemeteries. In case of the Margraten Cemetery, this program is maintained by the Stichting Adoptie Graven Amerikaanse Begraafplaats Margraten (Foundation Adoption Graves American Cemetery Margraten).


Would you like to contribute to keeping the memory alive? By donating just 12.50 dollars, you will enable us to give a face to one soldier. You can directly donate 12.50 dollars via your credit card or PayPal by clicking the button below. Click here if you want to read more or donate another amount. Thank you for your support!