Veterans honor dead in Bamberg
BAMBERG, Germany – Veterans paid their respects Sunday morning to the 20 American military personnel buried in the city cemetery since World War II, and triggered a German resident's recollections in the process.
“If we don’t come here, these servicemembers will be forgotten,” said Dave Robinson, commander of the Bamberg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10592. “The bulk of Americans are back in America, and it’s up to us over here to honor them; otherwise nobody will.”
The veterans knew some of the people they were honoring. Others were strangers.
VFW members saluted the graves and placed flowers and flags on them. A prayer was read and taps was played to conclude the Memorial Day weekend ceremony.
The sound drew the attention of Paul Zeck, 82, who was visiting the graves of family members.
Zeck knew of Nathan R. Preston, Bamberg’s first U.S. military governor and resident officer following the war, as a teenager.
“He was a very good officer and governor to us,” said Zeck, remembering back to the days when he moved to Bamberg from war-ravaged Schweinfurt following the war. “He always had a smile.”
“At that time we both wanted the same thing: No more war,” said Zeck. Preston died in 1983.
William Yurek, a retired military member who played taps, summed up the day’s events in his reply to Zeck: “We can now look back and think how we can make things better in the future,” he said.