Guest submission by American Battle Monuments Commission
Glenwood Springs native Jason Bordelon has been serving as the superintendent of the American Battle Monuments Commission’s Netherlands American Cemetery in Margraten, Netherlands for more than a year.
He oversees the day-to-day operations of the cemetery, including the pristine upkeep of the grounds and memorials, but most importantly the dignified commemoration of the nearly 8,300 U.S. military members buried there and the more than 1,700 individuals whose names are inscribed on the walls of the site’s Tablets of the Missing.
Tens of thousands of individuals visit the cemetery each year, including many veterans and active-duty service members. Veterans Day is a particularly important time for the cemetery and its visitors.
“Veterans Day is an incredibly special day here at Netherlands American Cemetery,” said Bordelon. “Of all of the visitors that we see, veterans really encapsulate that spirit of service and sacrifice that the ABMC represents.”
Bordelon is currently working to usher in a new visitor center at the cemetery, which will help to tell the World War II story and give context to the rows of marble headstones that line the grounds. The center will help preserve the legacy of those individuals who gave their lives helping to liberate the region from German occupation during World War II.
This includes the 83 Colorado natives who are buried at the cemetery — individuals like Army Pfc. John H. Boysen of the 259th Infantry Regiment, 65th Infantry Division, who was killed on April 4, 1945, and Army Cpl. Roy Lewis, who served with the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment and was killed on Sept. 17, 1944.
Along the Tablets of the Missing, a bronze rosette appears beside Colorado native Pvt. Harry Wilder’s name. Wilder served with the 110th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division, and died on Nov. 15, 1945. Though not recovered after the war, he was never forgotten. His remains were identified in 2018, and the rosette was placed as a sign that he is now accounted for.
Of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, more than 400,000 died during the war. Tens of thousands are still unaccounted for. (Zolpidem) Many groups of veterans and military members visit the site to lay wreaths and honor their service.