Every year, on may 30th, the U.S observes Memorial Day. This national holiday is reserved for honoring those who have given the ultimate sacrifice in the service of our country.

A couple of years ago, Michele Humeston and I were sifting through her old family photos when we discovered a number of faded, tattered snapshots of a handsome young man, clearly decked out in bomber gear and hardware, next to a B-17 Flying Fortress.

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Immediately, my interest and curiosity piqued, but Michele knew nothing of him, or his history. A call placed to her mother and aunt, revealed that the mystery soldier was Michele's great-uncle, Vincent Aiello.

So the search was on, to discover what we could find about her uncle and his ultimate fate. What we discovered was both fascinating, and tragic.

Vincent was indeed part of a B-17 Bomber crew, that had been shot down over Germany, nearing the end of WWII, in 1944. He did not survive, and was ultimately interred in the Ardennes National Cemetery, in Belgium.
He was 22.

Michele dug up everything on the internet that could be found, also submitting a request to the government for access to his official service file.

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His own story and origins were very like the classic WWII tale, of the young Italian/American from the Bronx, who out of a sense of duty, enlisted in the U.S Army Air Corps, and volunteered for what could easily have been the most dangerous job in the military, at the time.

The overall survival rate was less than 50%.

It also struck us, that no one from Michele's family had ever visited his grave. We are both very fortunate to work for Bynder, and able to travel to offices in The Netherlands, putting us within reach of the cemetery in Belguim.
And so we went.

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To visit any national cemetery can be a very emotional experience.
The degree to which they are maintained, and the reverence shown the fallen, is breathtaking. Our own visit was no exception.

Europe is dotted with U.S military cemeteries, that are, in fact, determined sovereign U.S soil, just as any Embassy might be.

Michele and I were both deeply touched and honored to have been able to visit Vincent’s final resting place, as family, but no less so for the hundreds of other airmen buried there, whose sacrifice gave purpose, and regard, to this holiday, May 30th, Memorial Day.

They say you only truly die, when somebody says your name for the last time
Banksy

Not today, Vincent Aiello.