• Delegates of the German Bundeswehr reservists, German veterans' associations and the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach assemble in front of a monument at St. Johannis Church in downtown Ansbach, Germany, waiting for the Volkstrauertag ceremony to begin Nov. 17, 2013.

    Delegates assemble for the Volkstrauertag ceremony

    Delegates of the German Bundeswehr reservists, German veterans' associations and the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach assemble in front of a monument at St. Johannis Church in downtown Ansbach, Germany, waiting for the Volkstrauertag ceremony to begin Nov...

  • A wreath donated by the American Legion, Post 1982, is dedicated to the victims of war, violence, deportation and terrorism at the annual memorial ceremony "Volkstrauertag" in downtown Ansbach Nov. 17, 2013.

    The wreath, donated by American Legion, Post 1982

    A wreath donated by the American Legion, Post 1982, is dedicated to the victims of war, violence, deportation and terrorism at the annual memorial ceremony "Volkstrauertag" in downtown Ansbach Nov. 17, 2013.

  • Sgt. Selma Colesbacco, a Soldier at U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, holds a torch during the annual memorial ceremony "Volkstrauertag" Nov. 17, 2013, in downtown Ansbach, Germany.

    A Soldier holds the torch

    Sgt. Selma Colesbacco, a Soldier at U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach, holds a torch during the annual memorial ceremony "Volkstrauertag" Nov. 17, 2013, in downtown Ansbach, Germany.

  • The musicians of the "Schalkhaeuser Posaunenchor" get ready to play music for the Volkstrauertag memorial ceremony in Ansbach, Germany, Nov. 17, 2013.

    The band for the Volkstrauertag ceremony

    The musicians of the "Schalkhaeuser Posaunenchor" get ready to play music for the Volkstrauertag memorial ceremony in Ansbach, Germany, Nov. 17, 2013.

  • Col. Christopher Benson, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach commander, and wreath bearers Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Prescott and Spc. Lori Price pay their respects after placing the wreath in honor of war victims during a Volkstrauertag ceremony Nov. 17, 2013, in downtown Ansbach while Sgt. Selma Colesbacco holds the torch in the background.

    The delegates of USAG Ansbach pay their respect.

    Col. Christopher Benson, U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach commander, and wreath bearers Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Prescott and Spc. Lori Price pay their respects after placing the wreath in honor of war victims during a Volkstrauertag ceremony Nov. 17, 2013, in...

  • A wreath donated by the American Legion, Post 1982 is dedicated to the victims of war, violence, deportation and terrorism at the annual memorial ceremony "Volkstrauertag" in downtown Ansbach Nov. 17, 2013.

    The wreath donated by American Legion, Post 1982, is placed on the wall

    A wreath donated by the American Legion, Post 1982 is dedicated to the victims of war, violence, deportation and terrorism at the annual memorial ceremony "Volkstrauertag" in downtown Ansbach Nov. 17, 2013.

ANSBACH, Germany (Nov. 19, 2013) -- It was a cold evening Nov. 17. Approximately 200 attendees gathered beside the St. Johannis church in downtown Ansbach, where fiery torches served as the only light. The assembly was there to remember the victims of war, violence, deportation and terrorism of the past and present throughout the world.

On any other given day, pedestrians might walk past without a second glance at the monument along the church wall. However, on Volkstrauertag, literally "People's Mourning Day," delegates of the German Bundeswehr reservists, German veterans' associations, American Legion, Post 1982 and the U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach assembled in front of it to pay their respect to the fallen.

The day is celebrated throughout Germany the second Sunday before Advent Sunday, which is the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day.

Ansbach's Lord Mayor Carda Seidel reminded the audience that "even though peace and freedom have become reality for Germany 68 years after the end of World War II," there are still wars raging in other countries with the civilian population suffering terribly. The ceremony, according to Seidel, is there to serve as a reminder to "champion a world without war, terror or displacement."

"It's important to the American Legion to participate in such community ceremonies, especially because Post 1982's motto is 'Helping Veterans, their Families and the Ansbach community,'" said Master Sgt. Christopher Buchanan, commander of American Legion, Post 1982. "And as veterans and Soldiers serving and living in the Ansbach community, it's also important to the American Legion to bond with the German community and share their customs."

Delegates from USAG Ansbach included Col. Christopher M. Benson, commander of the garrison.

After the remarks and prayers, each delegation placed a decorated wreath in a designated spot while a brass ensemble from Schalkhausen played soft music. The hushed audience listened as a lone trumpeter played "Taps" into the night before the ceremony closed.

Page last updated Tue November 19th, 2013 at 10:36