Adoption of American military graves in Europe common practice

alt

The idea of caring for American graves began not long after the Normandy Invasion of June 6, 1944. One of the first French citizens to tend the grave of a fallen American soldier was Simone Renaud, of St. Mere Eglise, France. This photo, taken by Life Magazine photographer Ralph Morse, shows Mme. Renaud placing flowers on the grave of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. at the American military cemetery in Normandy.

By ALEX McRAE alex@newnan.com When Netherlands resident Marco Weijers adopted the grave of Newnan's Albert Partridge, he became one of 8,301 local residents who adopted the grave of an American soldier at the American Military Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands. According to Newnan resident and World War II veteran Gene Cook, adoption of American military graves is now a fairly common practice at the American military cemeteries scattered across the European continent.
Cook says the idea of caring for American graves began not long after the Normandy Invasion of June 6, 1944. One of the first French citizens to tend the grave of a fallen American soldier was Simone Renaud, whose husband was mayor of St. Mere Eglise, France, which was the first town liberated by Allied forces when American paratroopers landed there before dawn on June 6, 1944, and suffered heavy losses before claiming victory. Mme. Renaud became famous when Life Magazine photographer Ralph Morse photographed her at the newly-opened military cemetery in Normandy placing flowers on the grave of Theodore Roosevelt Jr. just weeks after the Normandy invasion. After the article appeared in Life, Mme. Renaud was swamped with requests from American families asking her to tend the graves of their lost loved ones. She did all she could personally and organized countless others to follow her lead. That tradition endures today. Cook says because of Mme. Renaud's efforts in tending the graves of fallen Americans, she became known as the Mother of Normandie, which is home to the largest and most heavily-visited American military cemetery in Europe. Mme. Renaud's son, Henri-Jean is Cook's best friend in Normandie and the two correspond regularly, Cook said. A documentary film was released last year about Mme. Renaud and her lifelong mission to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice to liberate Europe from German oppression.


More Local

GA troopers to focus on commercial drivers on I-85

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia state troopers say they're launching a 72-hour crackdown on unsafe commercial vehicle drivers on Interstate 85. ... Read More


10 Things to Know for Today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today: 1. HOW U.S. RAMPS UP RESPONSE TO EBO ... Read More


Coweta County Commissioners

Euro Auctions USA rezoning on Tuesday's agenda

A public hearing on rezoning of property for Euro Auctions USA is on the agenda for Tuesday night’s meeting of the Coweta County Board ... Read More


Coweta County Fair returns, opens Thursday

The Coweta County Fair kicks off Thursday, and check-in for some exhibits begins today. Arts, crafts and food exhibits can be submitted from ... Read More


Pharmacist ‘ready to move forward’

Two years ago, Amy Matistic’s life was forever changed. After dropping her son off at school, Matistic returned home to find a Coweta ... Read More

Coweta County receives questionable voter forms

Coweta County has received several questionable voter registration forms submitted by the New Georgia Project, which is currently being inve ... Read More