Update from the M and Ms
The Sherman tank that proudly stands in front of Marcel and Mathilde Schmetz's Remember Museum 39-45 at Thimister-Clermont, Belgium, is finally painted in its original color, thanks to the generosity of American servicemen and women who came from Germany.
The first group came in April 2007, to begin the work. The were wounded warriors recuperating in Landstuhl, Germany, where the largest American military hospital of Europe is located. When they visit Mathilde and Marcel Schmetz, they always stay overnight and enjoy the Belgian meals Mathilde (Mother Mathilde as they nicknamed her) cooks for them. They came to clean the tank and put on an anti-rust protection layer which gave the tank a strange red color for awhile.
As planned in the beginning, one group came back July 4 to finish the job. Unfortunately, the weather was so bad they were discouraged and decided to finish the restoration project later.
On Aug. 18, a team of 11 who physically and spiritually treat the wounded warriors of Iraq and Afghanistan came. This group included doctors, pharmacists, nurses, cooks, and chaplains. Filled with enthusiasm and an enormous reserve of elbow grease, these emissaries of the U.S. Army gave the colors back to this historic Sherman tank, a vestige of the bloody battles marking the liberation of the area. Marcel finished the tank by repainting the stars and the markings.
General Craddook who is the SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander in Europe) came to the Remember Museum Memorial Day to have lunch with the M&Ms and to see the museum. They went together to the Memorial Day ceremonies at Henri-Chapelle American Military Cemetery, where 7,992 young men are buried.
After the ceremony, at the official reception, Gen. Craddock gave the M&Ms the Outstanding Public Service Award, which is the highest civilian medal awarded by the U.S. Army to civilians. His intention was to reward the managers of the Remember Museum for their devotion to remembrance and their readiness now to welcome young convalescent soldiers wounded in Iraq.
As they do every year, Mathilde and Marcel went to Krinkelt to lay a wreath to remember all those young soldiers who died during the Battle of the Bulge, especially the ones who fought at the Northern Shoulder of the Ardennes at the beginning of the battles of 1944-45.