The Margraten Cemetery: Adopt-a-Grave

By | March 18, 2019

[March 18, 2019] A few days ago, I attended a presentation at a local Veterans get-together. An Army veteran gave a presentation on cemeteries in Europe and what they meant to him. I was surprised to hear that his father, killed during World War II, was buried in the Margraten Cemetery, Netherlands.

The 8,301 American soldiers buried at Margraten and the 1,722 listed as Missing in Action, were mostly part of Operation Market Garden, September 17-27, 1944. Originally, over 17,000 Americans were buried here, but over the 75 years since, most of the fallen were repatriated to the United States at the request of relatives.

More surprising to all of us veterans at the presentation, was the adopt-a-grave program of the Dutch people of Margraten and surrounding communities. A program was set up in 1945 where a family can adopt the grave of an American soldier. It is my understandings that not only are all the graves “adopted” but that there is a large waiting list. Often, the responsibility of a family member who continues to honor these soldiers is passed down to the next generation.

It shows the continuous commitment of the Dutch to those who gave their lives for the freedom of the Dutch. While the U.S. oversees this in our American Battle Monuments Commission (as approved by the U.S. Congress), it is the Dutch Stichting Adoptie Graven Amerikaanse Begraafplaats Margraten that maintains the cemetery. You can find out whether the grave or the name of your loved one buried or memorialized in Margraten has been adopted through their website.1

The admiration shown by the Dutch is an example of a level of respect not often encountered today. The Dutch people are to be commended for their effort, and we should let them know. We are all honored by their actions.


Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

21 thoughts on “The Margraten Cemetery: Adopt-a-Grave

  1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

    Good article. Thanks, Gen. Satterfield.

  2. Greg Heyman

    Operation Market Garden was one of the major offensive operations that occurred after D-Day. It put a spear through the heart of the Nazi government and for the first time Hitler realized that his vision of a conquered Europe was at an end.

  3. Bryan Lee

    I’m happy to give my greatest respect to the Dutch peoples.

  4. Gil Johnson

    WWI and WWII should be remembered for those that stepped up to fight tyranny. Today, many of our young people are attracted to socialism and communism. Although the history of those lines of thought have resulted in more than 100 million deaths (yes, that’s right), our young are still enthralled with them. Shame on our politicians that encourage such stupidity.

  5. Lady Hawk

    Hey, keep up these types of articles. They are very educational and I simply like reading them.

  6. Roger Yellowmule

    Love the article today. Keep up the great work.

    1. Tracey Brockman

      Yes, this is a good day for reading about the respect the Dutch have for Americans. You don’t see that often.

  7. Kenny Foster

    I agree with all those who commented today that this is a way to never forget the sacrifice others have given that went before us. It was not that long ago when people lived in fear of their lives from fascism and communism. Due to their efforts, these ideologies are largely discredited. Thanks for another valuable article.

  8. Eva Easterbrook

    I really do appreciate your blog post today. It is obvious that someone or many, in the Netherlands, are leaders because they are able to convince their neighbors that it is important to remember those who gave their lives for such a noble cause.

  9. Fred Weber

    Great article. Thank you. My grandfather and his brother are buried in Margraten Cemetery. I plan to visit there sometime later this year with several in my family. I understand that if you have a relative buried there, the Dutch will give you special attention. I look forward to it.

    1. Anita

      Yes, Fred and thank you Gen. Satterfield. I appreciate your article today because the lessons of World War 2 are being forgotten at a tremendous pace.

  10. Len Jakosky

    My uncle was an American paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne. He was in combat for over a year and was wounded twice by the Germans. He was, of course, happy to get home. He would tell us stories of how many of his “buddies” never made it back. They are mostly still buried in Europe. Uncle George still is alive although he is in his 90s.

    1. Dale Paul Fox

      Another inspiring comment Len on a subject that is often swept under the rug.

    2. Eric Coda

      The veterans of WWII are dying off and will soon be gone. I recommend that if you know any to please talk to them about their experiences and what they learned from being in the war.

  11. Andrew Dooley

    I traveled all over Europe during my younger days but never was at any of the American or Allied cemeteries. I’m told by my dad that he visited them at the end of WW2 and was taken aback by the sheer numbers of Americans buried there. I plan to return to Europe someday and I will have some of these cemeteries on my list to visit.

  12. Scotty Bush

    The peoples of Europe and those in the United States/Canada and Down Under share a great deal of history and culture. During the 19th and 20th centuries, there were many wars that killed millions in Europe. Over this brutal time, tyrannical governments came and went. Today, despite our differences, all those in Europe are under some form of democracy where the rule of law prevails.

    1. Wesley Brown

      Good point Scotty and nicely written, Gen. Satterfield. Thanks for getting this info out to us. Have a great week.

  13. Army Captain

    I liked your article today because it gave me that little extra boost needed to continue learning more about the Dutch and about leadership.

  14. JT Patterson

    Wow, great information and it shows that everyone in Europe is not corrupted by socialist ideology.

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