Thursday, January 30, 2014


My dad's side of the family  has a family reunion every June in a tiny little wooden church in Rison, Arkansas,  an event my brother and sisters usually dub "Chicken Fest" because as best as we can tell, "potluck" is code word for "metric ton of fried chicken." Anyway, every year they elect a "president" for the Bell Family Reunion Association and this year it happens to be my dad's brother, Uncle D.  Uncle D is one of those people who takes his duties seriously, a development that has everyone delighted, and also saying to themselves: "There were duties?? Huh.  Who knew?"
Uncle D sends us regular updates and family history stories each month, stuff which my dad either forgot to tell us (or left out on purpose because of slight illegalities involved on his part). At any rate, it's been an enlightening few months. Last week, we received a 30+ page family geneology going back 12 generations to the 1600s. Most of what I gleaned from that is that one of my ancesters named his child, "Hugh Dick." I giggled because I am twelve.  
This week he sent a link which, well, I'll see if I can give you a recap. It's hard to do this because these kinds of things deserve more than a couple of paragraphs, so I'm using the original email (which I think may have been copied from something that's been going around for a few years, so I've corrected where possible). Plus, I've added some links of my own in case you want to know more:

"About six miles from Maastricht in the Netherlands lie buried 8,301 American solders who died in "Operation Market Garden" in the battles to liberate Holland in the fall and winter of 1944-45. One of those is Pat and my dad, CPL Benjamin P. Bell Jr. who died April 16, 1945. [my grandfather] Every one of the men buried in the cemetary, as well as those in the Canadian and British military cemetaries was adopted by a Dutch family who mind the grave, decorate and keep alive the memory of the soldier they have adopted. It is [sometimes] even the custom to keep a portrait of "their" American solder in a place of honor in their home. Annually, on "Liberation Day" memorial services are held for the men who died to liberate Holland. The day concludes with a concert. The final piece is always "Il Silenzio," a memorial piece commissioned by the Dutch and first played in 1965 on the 20th anniversary of Holland's liberation. This year*, the soloist was a 13 year old Dutch girl named Melissa Venema (backed by Andre Rieu and the Royal Orchestra of the Netherlands). The piece is based on the original version of TAPS and was composed by Italian composer Nino Rossi."
*it was actually 2008, so I'm assuming the original source is a few years old.
At any rate, you can Click here to see the video which is of the Have Your Tissues Handy variety.
This is a photo of a photo of my grandfather, Benjamin P. Bell, Jr. He is buried in Margraten, Netherlands. 
Oh, and Uncle D has a book on Amazon which you can buy. I haven't read it yet, so there's still time for my dad to 'fess up/and or chalk it up to early onset Alzheimers (more likely).

1 comment:

"Uncle" Donald said...

Well done Lee. You can't hide. No problem about not reading my book called "Catherine's Kid, one boys story about growing up in the Arkansas Delta. So far only Linda and Bobby, Pat L., and Sandy P. have the book. Your dad, my big bro is busily redacting everything negative I wrote about him. Best to you,Sam, Hopper and that latest kid who's name escapes me now. Need to visit more!