Back to Home Page 

Mike Urette & Karen’s Recent Adventure
6/2/2022

Mike Urette tells us about the most recent adventure for Karen and him. Given the following description of their visit to one of the WW II final resting place for America’s honored dead, publication of his report is timely at this time of year, the observance of Memorial Day and Independence Day.

Mike Sends:

“Sixty Years! When we graduated in June of ’61 we could hardly imagine what the next sixty years would bring let alone what we might be doing. So, to celebrate sixty years and our sixtieth wedding anniversary, Karen and I embarked on a two-week trip to northern France.

Photo Left: The Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial—-one of

We landed in Paris, rented a car and headed for Metz in northeastern France. About 4:00 Karen spotted a roadside sign for an American cemetery. We were in the general area of the WW I Muse-Argonne and Aisne-Marne battlefields and we made an 80 km/hr. decision to investigate.

After a seemingly endless drive winding around fields and farms, we stumbled upon the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery. Our car was almost alone in the lot in front of the administration building, which is also the Superintendents’ home. Luck would have it that the Super and another American couple were chatting on the front steps and invited us to join them on a guided tour of the cemetery.

The Superintendent, CSM Hubert Caloud USMC Ret. was very engaging and welcoming. A true personality who had an extensive knowledge of all things military, he takes great pride in not only his but all the European American War Cemeteries.

Oise-Aisne cemetery is divided into four sections identified A-D. Our first stop was Section E! Routine visitors don’t see Section E and it is not identified on the brochure guide. For many years it was a “confidential” location only exposed in 2009 by a Freedom of Information request. This is the burial place of 98 U.S. soldiers who were executed following court martial during WWII. It is considered a place of shame with the graves marked only by ground level numbers.

Photo Right: 1961 April 2022: Karen & Mike Urette were at the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial: Seen here are Mike and Marine CSM Hubert Caloud. "He is a marvelous representative for the USA.”

Karen & Mike journeyed on to Bastogne for more absorption of history.

With that somber opening, Hubert led us to the main grounds – a field of beauty filled with rows of pristine white crosses and stars of David centered upon a stunning memorial. The first stop was the gravesite of Sergeant Joyce Kilmer---you will remember him from Plebe English as the author of the poem “Trees” (I think that I shall never see….). He was killed in battle at age 31 while serving in the 42nd Rainbow Division. Following an extremely well narrated tour of the semi-circular memorial of marble and granite constructed in a Romanesque style, and a small chapel to the memorial's right, and a one-room museum to the left, the Superintendent invited us to join him and an associate in lowering the American flag in the center of the four sections. We were surprised and honored.

Following the lowering to the haunting music of Taps, we helped fold the flag---to Marine Corps standards--- and CSM Caloud presented the flag to me. I was overwhelmed and appreciative beyond words. Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Armed Forces Day they will all be remembered as “Oise-Aisne Day” to me.

Those of you who have visited some of the other 26 American cemeteries around the world probably have the same feeling. It is one never to be forgotten.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last update:
10/28/2021