FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Nov. 20, 2023) -- Members of the Watertown German-American Club joined 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers at the Fort Drum Prisoner of War (POW) Cemetery on Nov. 19 to honor the fallen during the 22nd annual German Remembrance Day ceremony.
Retired Lt. Col. Barbara Eddy, Watertown German-American Club president, said the Volkstrauertag observance pays tribute to the victims of war and violence and the service members who died during World War I and World War II.
“It’s like Memorial Day and Veterans Day combined, where the German people remember the fallen during wartime,” she said. “The observance gives us a chance to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
The Fort Drum POW Cemetery contains the graves of one Italian POW and six German POWs who were interned at the Pine Camp prisoner compound during World War II. Maj. Caleb Gaasch, 10th Mountain Division Artillery intelligence officer, accompanied Eddy to lay a wreath at the gravesites.
“For those who served and lost brothers- and sisters-in-arms, families who lost loved ones, and for all our communities, we must continue to remember the fallen and ensure that their lessons and memories are not forgotten, and their sacrifices not made in vain,” Gaasch said. “We must keep them as part of us and help them stay in eternal life.”
During the ceremony, Eddy read a letter from German Consul General David Gill, which read in part:
“We remember for the sake of the present and for the sake of the future by learning from the past. Because grieving is only possible when the memories are faced, including the painful memories as well. Let us commemorate this day together and keep in mind that the preservation of peace, freedom, democracy, and humanity are our biggest obligation in these challenging days more than ever before. Together we bear the responsibility for this. Let us not give up hope for peaceful world.”