Americans in England

Hilda Stob Prose

It was early one Sunday morning on the way to Cambridge, England from our home in Oxford that we saw a sign stating that the American Cemetery was situated around the next bend in the road. We were quite surprised because we did not know that there was one in England. So of course we stopped and parked the car.

It was one of those fresh dewy mornings, for which England is known. We walked under the arch which was the entrance between high stone walls which enclosed the cemetery and an unforgettable scene lay before us. Row upon row of white crosses stretched over acres of brilliant green meadow, still wet with dew. It was awesomely quiet, and we were alone with our American boys who were buried there. The sun was shining over the edge of the wall, bathing all in a clear brilliant light, as if saying, “God in here and it is My Day, and I have not forgotten these men who lie here awaiting the final reveille.” Tears filled our eyes and silently rolled down our cheeks. And through our tears we saw a lovely bouquet of fresh flowers placed before one of the crosses. Someone else had been there that morning. Was it a friend or lover, or someone dearer whose name was on that cross?

Then we turned and read some of the hundreds of names carved in the inner, smooth marble surface of the huge walls bordering the cemetery. Each name with the dates and the city and state from which the boys came, recorded there so that time would not forget them. Row upon row of names, and row upon row of white crosses. We silently entered the small chapel just inside the gate, and prayed for the living and the dead, and for the country whose people were so gratefully tending the graves of the American boys whose lives were given defending the country of England.

England, 1961