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In Honored Glory: Heckmanns has outstanding website

The following letter arrived from The Netherlands, one I 'd like to share with our readers. His website is outstanding. I hope you'll look at it. As to membership, it is limited to veterans of the 99th during WWII. We have "widows" and "associates" but the only "members" served in the 99th Infantry Division during WWII.

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Peter Heckmanns. I live in Kerkrade, the Netherlands. My hometown is roughly placed between the two famous WWII battles . . . the Battle of the Bulge and the Hürtgen Forest.

Many years ago I was moved deeply by my visits to the American War Cemeteries at Margraten and Henri-Chapelle . . . for some reason Henri-Chapelle always touched me and makes me even today sometimes unexplainably emotional.

About four years ago I remembered that a close friend of mine told me that an Australian AVRO Lancaster went down on Dec. 29, 1943 . . . The plane was shot down by a German nightfighter. This boosted my interest, especially when a local newspaper announced that no one knew where the airmen (six died, one survived) were buried.

In only one hour I discovered that these men were buried at the Reichswald Cemetery in Kleve (Germany). I learned from an Australian that another Dutchman . . . also from Kerkrade had searched for the information. I got his address and he pointed out that it is possible to adopt graves of American soldiers who were killed during the second World War. Of course I filed a request for adoption, not only for me but also for my two sons, so this tragedy will never be forgotten.

During the past two years I have adopted a total of five graves at Margraten and seven at Henri-Chapelle.

Having adopted these graves I found out that it just didn't feel good enough. I wanted to be able to do more for the men and women who gave us back our freedom. I decided to create a website. It took me some time to figure out a name, but one day when I was walking between the crosses at Henri-Chapelle I noticed the inscription "Here rests in honored glory, a comrade in arms, known but to God" . . . I knew instantly that I found what I was looking for . . . the name for my website . . . In Honored Glory!

My goal is to collect as many stories on the soldiers who are buried at Henri-Chapelle. The idea behind the website is to find the story of each and every man buried at Henri-Chapelle. My goal is to give people and especially the future generations a face behind the headstones. However, only a face isn't good enough for me. I want to convince them that when they enter a cemetery like Henri-Chapelle there is more than just grass and marble. Each piece of marble represents the life of a young man who acted to give them back their freedom.

Not only the heroics should be remembered, but also their lives of these men and women and the lives before they were dropped into combat.

Henri-Chapelle is my main target, but there are many more goals to the website. Recently I received the book "The Dead of Winter," as a gift from Kathy Winkle. I already knew a lot about "the Diggers," but this book finally puts everything into perspective. Not only that, it puts everything together, so it's more than only bits and pieces

My question to you is, would it be possible for me to obtain a membership in the 99th Infantry Division Association?

Peter Heckmanns