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Ramstein participates in Volkstrauertag

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, poses with Ralf Hechler, Ramstein-Miesenbach mayor, and other representatives who participated in Germany’s National Day of Mourning in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Nov. 18, 2018. The German National Day of Mourning honors all victims of war and persecution, and is the German equivalent of America’s Memorial Day.

U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Mark R. August, 86th Airlift Wing commander, poses with Ralf Hechler, Ramstein-Miesenbach mayor, and other representatives who participated in Germany’s National Day of Mourning in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Nov. 18, 2018. The German National Day of Mourning honors all victims of war and persecution, and is the German equivalent of America’s Memorial Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristof J. Rixmann)

This year’s Volkstreuertag was held in Ramstein-Miesenbach at the St. Nikolas Church on Nov. 18, 2018. In total, over 15 organizations gave their thanks and participated in this year’s German National Day of Mourning to honor brothers and sisters in arms who have fallen in war.

This year’s Volkstreuertag was held in Ramstein-Miesenbach at the St. Nikolas Church on Nov. 18, 2018. In total, over 15 organizations gave their thanks and participated in this year’s German National Day of Mourning to honor brothers and sisters in arms who have fallen in war. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristof J. Rixmann)

Ralf Hechler, Ramstein-Miesenbach mayor, gives a speech on Germany’s National Day of Mourning in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Nov. 18, 2018. The German National Day of Mourning honors all victims of war and persecution, and is the German equivalent of America’s Memorial Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristof J. Rixmann)

Ralf Hechler, Ramstein-Miesenbach mayor, gives a speech on Germany’s National Day of Mourning in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Nov. 18, 2018. The German National Day of Mourning honors all victims of war and persecution, and is the German equivalent of America’s Memorial Day. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kristof J. Rixmann)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany -- The 86th Airlift Wing, representatives from NATO countries, and a U.S. congressional delegate were in attendance for Volkstrauertag or the German National Day of Mourning in Ramstein-Miesenbach, Nov. 18, 2018.

The German National Day of Mourning honors all victims of war and persecution, and is the German equivalent of America’s Memorial Day.

The first Volkstreuertag was held in 1922 in the Reichstag making this year’s memorial the 96th anniversary.

For this observation, veterans typically organize the ceremonies to include a procession from the respective church service to a war memorial, followed by a speech by the mayor.

Following the mayor’s speech, representatives who participated in the Volkstrauertag ceremony placed decorated wreaths around the war memorial statue. Ramstein-Miesenbach’s war memorial statue depicts a grieving mother weeping over the loss of her fallen son. Both the statue and wreath ceremony honor all victims in war.

“With this observation you honor the sacrifices of the military,” said Eva Maldonado, 86th Airlift Wing Host Nation advisor.

Ralf Hechler, Ramstein-Miesenbach mayor further elaborated on the significance of the German National Day of Mourning.

“We should never forget the casualties of World War I or World War II,” said Hechler. “If we do not remember history, we cannot shape the future. Many alliances, such as the European Union, NATO, or United Nations, were forged after World War II and as a consequence of these alliances we have not had a war in Western Europe in 70 years.”

In total, over 15 organizations gave their thanks and participated in this year’s German National Day of Mourning to honor brothers and sisters in arms who have fallen in war.