These photos graciously donated by Dany Tihon (Vice-President of the local chapter of the National Federation of Faimes Affairs, Belgium) who lives near the Ardennes American Cemetery and is part of an organization that honors the soldiers buried there. He has adopted the grave of Sgt. Michael Dicky of the 71st AFA Bn. who died Aug. 14th 1944, near Gage, France. Here are his comments paraphrased from our conversations relating to this years services: (G.Beckley)
I am a retired Chief Warrant officer of troops transmissions. While stationed in Germany during the 1970s, in Cologne, I was able to rub elbows with U.S. troops. Our generation takes over the customs of our ancient Military, in the patriotic associations. I can afford to attend to certain actions such as sponsorship of the graves of GIs. We recognize the hard work that the Soldiers of the U.S. have produced for us, in liberation from Nazism, and the vast majority of the Belgian population does not forget.
Annually at the same time as other graves of American soldiers, we bring flowers to the grave of Sgt. Dicky and a tomb of an unknown American soldier. Local veterans of FAIMES will be present with their flags. Also invited is our community and a delegation of children from our schools. We are allowed to photograph the ceremony and I will send you photos of our participation in this, the 20th sponsorship of the graves of American soldiers in the cemetery at Neuville en Condroz, with comments for each photo attached. It can be observed in the U.S. military section, the Superintendent of Cemeteries and a senior officer seconded to the US Embassy in Brussels. We were lucky, the rain did not interupt. More and more graves have godmothers and godfathers, which means that the memory of the sacrifice of these young people who came from across the Altantic is not lost. Dany Tihon
*Click on pictures to enlarge and see comments
Services 9-25-2011 at Ardennes American Cemetery: