Last weekend, the club got together in Heythuysen in the Dutch province of Limburg. Autumn had definitely, but fortunately, we were still able to start with drinks outside Saturday evening. We enjoyed sampling a couple of the local Limburgs beers while catching up with each. The enevitable discussion ensued weighing the value of shirt-tucks and accessories.
Our hosts, Roger and Alise Long, prepared shrimp and grits, brunswick stew, and pecan pie. The recipes were taken out of the Charleston Junior League’s cookbook so that the rich, savory meal might remind us somehow of the low country.
Sunday morning we left early to travel down south across the border into Belgium. Our first objective was the American cemetery of Henri-Chapelle. We paid our respects to the five Citadel Men interred there. After a few minutes of reflection in the cemetery’s chapel we left our fallen brothers behind and travelled a few miles back north across the border to Norbeek. There we met up with three Dutchmen who have adopted the graves of 2 Citadel Men who rest in peace at The Netherlands American Cemetery which is located in Margraten, a few miles north of Norbeek. At Café d’r Pley in Norbeek we had coffee and Limburgs “vlaai” (similar to American fruit pie) while telling our guests about The Citadel. We had a Sphinx with us so that we could show them the school and the Corps of Cadets.
We then headed to Margraten to pay our respects to the eight Citadel Men interred there. Being joined by the Dutchmen who had adopted the graves of our fallen brothers was very special. They visit the adopted graves several times a year and place flowers. Margraten is unique in that all 8,301 of its buried have been adopted. The visit has made a deep and lasting impression on us.
Our hosts from the American Battle Monuments Commission at both cemeteries were wonderful. They guided us around the cemeteries, and they had prepared for our visit by placing flags at the Citadel Men’s graves and darkening the names on their headstones with sand from Omaha Beach so they would show up well in photos.
From Margraten, we headed the few miles west into the center of Maastricht, the largest Dutch city in Limburg. On the “Onze Lieve Vrouwplein”, in the shadow of the Roman Basilica, we closed out our southern adventure with a lunch of “zuurvlees” and “frites”, a very typical Maastricht meal.