Thursday, October 27, 2011

On the Way to France

The third day of our trip to Europe was driving to check out the work site in Stiring-Wendel France, and check into our hotel in Saar Brucken Germany. We had to stop in Luxembourg for gas for the vans. This was quite interesting. I guess this tiny country has the cheapest gas, so many people like to refuel here. It was only about $6 a gallon. What happens is there are several pumps lined up next to each other that the cars pull up to going only in one direction. When you are done pumping, then you merge into a line and everyone pays at a separate toll booth type kiosk. The pic you see is of the cars merging to pay.

Stiring-Wendel was about a 4 hour drive from Brussels. Before we got there, we stopped at an American Military cemetary in Lorraine France. This place was sooooo cool! I had no idea it was here. It was dedicated to those Americans who served in WWI, but mostly WWII. As we pulled in we were met by a man who lives on this property and he and the caretaker are the only ones who work at the cemetary. I wish I could remember his name. Anyways, he is an American who was in the military for 24 years, and I can't quite remember how long he has been working at the cemetary. (I tell ya, I need to write this stuff down so when I finally get around to blogging about it, I have the info). I also remember that that he said something like he doesn't work for the American Embassy, but does work under it--and don't ask me to explain that because I don't remember that info either.

Do you see the number on the sign below? There are over 10,000 Americans buried here! Some of them, but a small number, are woman who were either nurses or with the Red Cross.

The grounds and buildings were absolutely beautiful and extremely well taken care of. We were allowed to walk anywhere and check out the headstones. If a soldier was known to be a Christian, their headstone was a cross. If they were known to be Jewish, their headstone was a Star of David. If their religion was unknown or that of any other religion, their headstone was a Latin Cross. I thought for sure I had taken a pic of each type of headstone, but apparently I did not of the Latin Cross. The following pics show the other types of headstones, and just to be respectful to the person buried of whose headstone I took a pic, I have included close up pics with that tombstones info.
This was only part of the cemetary!

Somebody had been her recently to pay tribute.

Tombstones with a gold star represented Medal of Honor recipients.
There were two very long walls of names of soldiers Missing In Action. However, the remains of these soldiers are still being found. If a name on these walls has a bronze flower beside it, that means the remains were found. In the past 14 months, 3 soldiers remains have been found!

Here is another view of the cemetery from the MIA walls. We walked all the way over to the white wall across the field. It is an overlook with an eagle on the front.
This is taken from the eagle outlook looking back over the cemetary and that is the chapel building in the background.

The chapel is a very tall building--a craning your neck to look at everything on the walls kind of building. I am not sure what all of the flags represent. There was a large war map, inscriptions, and then figures of war heros.
Look how huge the figures on the wall are compared to some of our team members. I am not sure who the figure in the middle is supposed to represent. I am not confident in saying he is supposed to be Jesus, but maybe he is?
King David and Emperor Constantine
King Arthur and George Washington

We continued on to Saar Brucken, Germany to check into our hotel. Within a couple minutes walking distance was a McDonalds where we grabbed some lunch. The employees only spoke German, but one spoke enough English to help us all get our orders placed. They also had a very nice pastry counter. I didn't buy anything from it, but loved taking some pics of items, and got a kick out of some of the names. There was also a very nice view of the hill behind the McDonalds. The trees were just barely starting to change color. I can only imagine how beautiful it must be when they are fully changing colors.

After lunch, we drove across the border to Stiring-Wendel. Literally, the work site in France and our hotel in Germany are right near the border of the two countries. One of our team members is a runner and we joked about how he would jog from our hotel in Germany all the way to France. We got to meet the pastor Michel and his wife Leoni (I'm not sure if I'm spelling their names right) of the church we would be helping to renovate. They are the most awesome people. They have two young daughters, and Leoni's parents from Holland were there to take care of the girls. Also, extremely nice people. Leoni and her parents speak fluent English, and Michel spoke some. I must say it was fun to talk with him because I could practice understanding and speaking French when he talked. While all of the guys checked out the work to be done on the church, I got to play with the girls a little bit and visit with Leoni and her parents. Right next door connected to the church is a beautiful thrift store they operate to help those in the community with discounted clothing.

No comments:

Post a Comment