As a World War II historian and author, I've become friends with many international citizens while visiting World War II sites. Our government shutdown affected some of them who lived under Nazi occupation. Eddie van der Pluijm, whom I met at the former Nazi concentration camp in Amersfoort, Holland, is a research director whose job is to search for former victims and/or families who were confined to the camp. He reported that the American government had closed the (American) War Cemetery at Margraten because of the shutdown. More than 8,300 American soldiers are laid to rest there. Eddie thinks our government should be ashamed because these men gave their lives so we can live in freedom.
Charles Kessellear of Margraten, Holland, sent a letter telling me that many tours and cars were detoured. He was upset because every grave site at the cemetery has been adopted by a Dutch family who helps by cleaning, flowering and assisting visitors. Charles has one adopted site that has an Oklahoma connection. Dwight Journey lives in Oklahoma City and his brother is at rest in Margraten. Charles spent his teen years during the Nazi occupation.
These people realize the value of freedom far more than we who live on this isolated continent. I've been back to Normandy, France, five times and have witnessed the everlasting appreciation they express for the Allied invasion to free them from Nazi occupation.
William R. Van Osdol, Edmond