18 November, 2014


Stand vom Montag

1 US $ = 0,7978 Euro

1 Euro = 1,2535 US $

Contact Us



Purchase 150th Anniversary Issue

Address Change

Renew Your Subscription








National Ad Rates













German Memorial, at Fort Custer

GBU-Saxonia Rheingold Chorus and other assembled guests gather to pay their respects.  Foto: AR

Battle Creek - I am often asked why I participate in the Volkstrauertag, German Memorial, at Fort Custer Memorial Cemetery every year.  My answer is simple, “Guten Morgen und Viel Dank.”  I said those words to each gravesite as I put a German flag on each tombstone at sunrise on Sunday, November 18th.  By saying those words I am paying respect and giving thanks for the service these men gave to their country, and I believe that is the same reason each person came to the service.

The service started with Pastor Gary Siefert from St. Paul Lutheran Church giving the invocation.  The national anthems of Germany and the United States were sung by the GBU-Saxonia Rheingold Chorus, Mrs. Edith Kuplent, president.  Roy Luera, the Director of Fort Custer National Cemetery, gave the welcoming address.  He admitted that he was a bit conflicted because his father was held in a German POW camp as an American serviceman.

Several special guests were in attendance including German POW’s Ernst Floeter and Oskar Schmoling.  The memorial address was given by Lt. Col. Bernd Wirtz, the German Liason Officer from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, OH.  He spoke about the “Forgotten 26”, but because we have a memorial service for them every year, they are truly the “Unforgotten 26”.  It was a very moving address.

Quite a few wreaths were presented and placed at the grave sites.  The first was from the German Consolute in Chicago, presented by Lt. Col. Bernd Wirtz and Capt. Roland Schneider.  Donna Lippert presented a wreath in honor of Stephen Fuchs, Founder of the German Pulse website, a website intended on keeping the German-American heritage alive for the younger generation.  Reinhard Lippert presented a wreath in memory of Josef Baumann, Founder of the Benton Harbor DANK club of St. Joe and Benton Harbor.  Heinz Reinhault presented a wreath for the St. Joe Kickers Sports club.  Erna Felgner and Barb Radewald presented a wreath in honor of the Germans from Russia club.  David Rutter offered a wreath from the Kalamazoo German club.  Marian Krenzer presented a wreath from the German-American Culture Center.  Dave and Marian Heinz donated a wreath from the Benton Harbor DANK club.  Frieda Helms presented a wreath in honor of Marsha Amstudz and the Toledo German-American Festival.

Following the wreath ceremony, the GBU-Saxonia Rheingold chorus sang several additional songs in German.  The Fort Custer Honor Guard performed military honors by firing a 21-gun salute.  Taps were performed by Lt. Col. Nicholas Batch and John R. Edwards.  Pastor Siefert gave the benediction.

The ceremony was followed by a social hour at the local Air Force Sergeants Association 774 Falcon Hall were everyone enjoyed cake and coffee.  Special thanks go out to the ladies of the German/American community and Continental Pastries for making and donating their cakes and services.  They are Traudel Werner, Margit Naesset, Michelle O’Neil and Rosemarie O’Neil.  The Peter Dams family was a big help in cleaning up after the service.

Everyone was reminded to pay their respects and give thanks for the freedoms our servicemen protected.  Next year’s service will be held on Sunday, November 17th, at Fort Custer National Cemetery in Battle Creek, MI.

Randy O’Neil MSM




Last modified on:02/25/2014

Search past and current articles for:



About us Affiliations Facebook Page Webmaster  


© 1996-2014 Nordamerikanische Wochen-Post. All rights reserved.