By Gerd Hennen (original in German) / Grenzecho.net
For several years, Wereth has been the site of a major memorial service for fallen African American soldiers during World War II at the end of May. The memorial, erected by Hermann Langer on his own initiative in 1994, is considered a symbol of the sacrifice made by soldiers of color who did not themselves experience the values of freedom, equality and peace they defended against the Hitler regime in their own homeland.
In the 1960s, the movement around freedom fighter Martin Luther King, which originated in Atlanta, put an initial stop to racism and discrimination in the United States, but cases such as that of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement that followed prove that racism is far from eradicated.
“The most valuable asset we have”.
“The big commemoration had been canceled in the second year of the pandemic, too, but the U.S. Embassy still asked us to hold a small, informal ceremony here at the memorial in Wereth. We were happy to comply with this request,” said Solange Dekeyser of the VoG U.S. Memorial Wereth. So Nicolas Berliner from the U.S. Embassy in Brussels paid a visit to the memorial on Friday to commemorate the eleven soldiers who were massacred by SS in Wereth on December 17, 1944.
“We are at the place where 77 years ago eleven African American soldiers were cruelly killed. The village of Wereth is a symbol of the horrors of World War II that we must hold up to the younger generation. If the soldiers killed in Wereth could still talk, they would not only talk about those horrors, they would, above all, tell us about the most valuable asset we have: Peace,” said Amel Mayor Eric Wiesemes. Nicholas Berliner and Amel Mayor Eric Wiesmes were joined at the ceremony by Colonel Edward J. Dupont, Cultural Affairs Supervisor Brian Dick and Public Affairs Councelor Amy R. Grier. “It is always an honor for us to welcome representatives from the Embassy. We hope to host the regular ceremony on May 21, 2022,” officials hoped.