Blasmusik Texas Visit to U. S. Cemetery - Luxembourg
On the morning of June 30, 1994 the tour bus carrying Blasmusik Texas band members, spouses and friends of the band pulled into the parking lot at the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg. As we exited the bus, Marvin and Posey Steitle handed each person a small American Flag they had brought from Texas.
For the next hour each of us experienced emotions we had not anticipated. Being the 50-Year Anniversary of the ending of the Second World War in Europe added to the emotion. Our presence there was like saying "thank you" to those who did not return home. For ten members of our group who had served in various military capacities during WW II it was a different experience. It was a time to reflect and a time to realize the importance of sharing our music in Europe with those whose lives were so different 50 years ago.
The American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg is the largest American cemetery in Europe. 5,076 American soldiers are buried there including General George Patton. Most of those buried in the cemetery were killed in action during the Battle of the Bulge.
Upon entering the cemetery you are immediately drawn to the beauty and number of grave markers that are laid out in such an orderly fashion. The grass, trees and bushes are maintained in immaculate condition. You feel you are walking on hallowed ground.
There are several stone memorials at the top of the cemetery. The picture above of our ten members who served during WW II was taken in front of one of the memorials. Another picture was taken of the twenty five individuals from our group who had served at anytime in the U. S. military. Some of those like Herbert Bilhartz were members of military bands. The inscription on the memorial pictured is "1941-1945 In Proud Remembrance Of The Achievements Of Her Sons And In Humble Tribute To Their Sacrifices This Memorial Has Been Erected By The United States Of America".
Our entire group then gathered together and David Bernshausen, Lutheran Minister and horn player, gave a eulogy that expressed many of our feelings. Bill Thorsby played Taps that touched the rest of our feelings. The remaining time was spent selecting a grave upon which to place our flag and to reflect each in our own private way.
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