This picture greeted me when I logged onto the computer this morning (March 2017). I am humbled and thankful for it. A young man from France sent it–probably only the seventh person to ever visit Dan Wilson’s grave over there.
Researching the war experiences of my mother’s family has been amazing, even more so with the Internet. Especially Facebook.
I’ve joined Facebook pages for the different ships the Wilson brothers served on, planes they flew, Iowa in WW II, Sons and Daughter of WW II, etc. There’s a wealth of information there, and sometimes I’ve added to the conversation.
Each year when Memorial Day and Veterans Day roll around, I’ve noticed that many times the Europeans do a better job of remembering the sacrifices of so many American families than we do ourselves.
They live where those wars were fought. And where thousand of young Americans lie in American cemeteries overseas.
On Facebook, I watched information on a page run by Ivan Steenkiste from Belgium. He is keeping the history of the Battle of the Bulge alive, day by day–with old pictures, maps, history, and pictures of how the area looks today.
His work is very thorough. So many American who fell during that awful battle are buried in Lorraine American Cemetery in eastern France. That’s also where Dan Wilson is buried.
I sent Mr. Steenkiste information about Dan’s grave there and about the Wilson family. He contacted a young Frenchman, Mathieu Carre, who is interested in WW II history. Mathieu Carre, from the Lorraine region, is active in reenactments of the history that devastated that area.
Recently Mathieu honored 2nd Lt. Daniel S. Wilson by taking flowers and a picture of Dan taken at his airbase in Italy, to his finally resting place in the Lorraine American Cemetery at St. Avold, Plot D, Row 5, Grave 7.
Dan was just an Iowa farm kid, Mom’s younger brother.
My husband Guy and I visited there with Danny’s sisters in 1987, when Doris and Darlene were nearly 80. It was beautiful, haunting. Since then, Darlene’s son Dick and his wife Jan have been there.
Until Mathieu Carre recently honored Dan Wilson, one of over 10,000 young Americans buried in that cemetery alone, only six visitors have been to his grave in over 70 years.