Saturday, May 17, 2008

Valkenburg and WWII memorial

Last weekend was the first weekend in the Netherlands without Kirsten and the kids. We had Monday of for Pinkster day so it was a nice 3 day weekend. Sunday I took a couple of friends back to Valkenburg castle ruins and this time we were able to take the cave tour. The tour was in Dutch but they had english literature so we at least had an idea what was going on. The caves were created by quarrying stone out of the ground for the castle's construction. They were used by knights of the castle to escape when the castle was seized and during battles to get behind the enemy. It was also used during WWII by the Allies to scout German troops when they were taking that area back from the Germans. We actually met a man who was 12 years old at the time. He showed us a photo of American soldiers walking down the street there in Valkenburg. He also told us that he had lived in the cave for 6 days during the battles to take Valkenburg back from the Germans. One of the photos above shows the names of some of the American GIs that were in the caves. After that we went a little farther south to an American military cemetery. What a beautiful place. It gave us a great since of pride and a tiny glimpse at the sacrifices that were made.

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