They Will Never Forget
ADOPTERS OF SOLDIERS’ GRAVES are citizens who choose one or more graves of American soldiers paying tribute to their LIBERATORS, as they are called. They choose to remember and never forget them for giving their lives in liberating their country.
Soldiers’ graves have been adopted, informally since 1944, but with more circumstance as Adoption Committees have been formed. These adopters in the surrounding areas of the cemeteries, and also from nearby countries, receive Adoption Certificates. They visit the graves and often place flowers there. Some communicate with family members.
In September 2011, George and his wife attended Adoption Ceremonies at the Henri-Chapele Cemetery and Ardennes Cemetery in Belgium. The ceremonies conducted by Le Briscard, the organization that presides over the Adoption Ceremonies in Belgium impressed Ciampa. His wife exclaimed that a documentary should be done to show the people back home in the U.S., and others, what a wonderful tribute this is…so many years after WW II, in remembering the thousands of fallen heroes who lie in these cemeteries.
Alas, a documentary was born. The following September 2012, after the ceremonies, this film was produced as a tribute to the Adopters. Jon Voight introduces this film that relates the stories of dozens of these adopters ranging in age from seven to ninety years of age. The Henri-Chapelle Cemetery was chosen for the filming because George personally buried so many of the heroes who lie there. It is an inexplicable emotion for him to know that some of these adopted soldiers could well be those that he had a significant connection with while handling their bodies as they were reverently buried in the temporary cemetery.