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Retired Sgt. 1st Class Tom Favia touches a cross following a Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. Favia, who lives nearby in Germany, says he tries to come to the ceremony every year. With 10,489 graves, the cemetery is the largest World War II U.S. World War II cemetery in Europe.
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Tom Favia touches a cross following a Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. Favia, who lives nearby in Germany, says he tries to come to the ceremony every year. With 10,489 graves, the cemetery is the largest World War II U.S. World War II cemetery in Europe. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Tom Favia touches a cross following a Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. Favia, who lives nearby in Germany, says he tries to come to the ceremony every year. With 10,489 graves, the cemetery is the largest World War II U.S. World War II cemetery in Europe.
Retired Sgt. 1st Class Tom Favia touches a cross following a Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. Favia, who lives nearby in Germany, says he tries to come to the ceremony every year. With 10,489 graves, the cemetery is the largest World War II U.S. World War II cemetery in Europe. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, who presented wreaths during the Memorial Day Ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery, salute the color guard from the 52nd Fighter Wing out of Spangdahlem Air Base, as they march off the site at the conclusion of the ceremony.
Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, who presented wreaths during the Memorial Day Ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery, salute the color guard from the 52nd Fighter Wing out of Spangdahlem Air Base, as they march off the site at the conclusion of the ceremony. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
A firing team from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment out of Vilseck, Germany, fires volleys at Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. With 10,489 graves, the cemetery is the largest World War II U.S. World War II cemetery in Europe.
A firing team from the 2nd Cavalry Regiment out of Vilseck, Germany, fires volleys at Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. With 10,489 graves, the cemetery is the largest World War II U.S. World War II cemetery in Europe. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, prepare to present wreaths during the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019.
Airmen from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, prepare to present wreaths during the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Sitting under an American flag, people watch the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. Around 1,500 people attended the ceremony.
Sitting under an American flag, people watch the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. Around 1,500 people attended the ceremony. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, deputy commander of U.S. Army Europe, speaks at the Memorial Day Ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. Like many of the speakers, Rohling spoke of the courage and sacrifice of the soldiers buried here.
Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, deputy commander of U.S. Army Europe, speaks at the Memorial Day Ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. Like many of the speakers, Rohling spoke of the courage and sacrifice of the soldiers buried here. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
A C-130 from the 86th Airlift Wing's 37th Airlift Squadron, out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, does a flyover during the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019.
A C-130 from the 86th Airlift Wing's 37th Airlift Squadron, out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, does a flyover during the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
A C-130 of the 86th Airlift Wing out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, flies over the memorial chapel at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019, during the Memorial Day ceremony held there.
A C-130 of the 86th Airlift Wing out of Ramstein Air Base, Germany, flies over the memorial chapel at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019, during the Memorial Day ceremony held there. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Soldiers of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment out of Vilseck, Germany, salute during the playing of the U.S. and French national anthems during the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019.
Soldiers of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment out of Vilseck, Germany, salute during the playing of the U.S. and French national anthems during the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
The U.S. Army Europe's brass quintet plays at the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019.
The U.S. Army Europe's brass quintet plays at the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
The Stuttgart High School JROTC unit marches in for the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019.
The Stuttgart High School JROTC unit marches in for the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)
Sgt. William Hamilton of the U.S. Army Europe Band plays a perfect rendition of taps at the conclusion of the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019.
Sgt. William Hamilton of the U.S. Army Europe Band plays a perfect rendition of taps at the conclusion of the Memorial Day ceremony at Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France, Sunday, May 26, 2019. (MICHAEL ABRAMS/STARS AND STRIPES)

ST. AVOLD, France – American and French citizens marked Memorial Day and saluted the 10,489 people buried at Lorraine American Cemetery, the largest World War II cemetery in Europe.

The ceremony, hosted by the American Battle Monuments Commission, drew around 1,500 people.

Army and Air Force units from Germany participated in an event that featured speeches, a wreath laying, a flyover by a C-130 aircraft, the firing of volleys and a perfect rendition of taps.

Among the units participating were soldiers from Vilseck, Germany’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment, Spangdahlem’s 52nd Fighter Wing, Ramstein’s 37th Airlift Squadron, the U.S. Army Europe Band’s brass quintet and Stuttgart High School’s JROTC chapter.

During his speech, Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, the deputy USAREUR commander, said: “We cannot measure or repay their sacrifice, but we can honor it by retelling their stories, we keep their memories alive.”

Sacrifice and duty, and the friendship between the U.S. and France were common threads in all the speeches. Kara McDonald, the U.S. consul general, and Lilian Pfluke of the American Overseas Memorial Day Association also spoke as did local dignitaries.

“These timeless heroes gave their lives for freedom, for peace, for democracy and for human dignity,” Rohling said.

For Sgt. 1st Class Donavon Pierre, a member of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment honor guard, “it was an honor to take part in the ceremony,” he said. “We want to be sure we do it correctly, to honor the fallen.”

Walking among the rows of white crosses and Stars of David – each decorated with French and American flags - Tom Favia, a retired Army sergeant first class, paused to touch some of them.

“I live across the border in Germany. I try to come out here for the ceremony every year,” he said.

abrams.mike@stripes.com Twitter: @stripes_photog

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