Slated November 13 in Lake Success
If ex-Marine Roger Kilfoil has his way, 17 WWII Veterans will fly to the Netherlands next May to honor Dutch caretakers of a U.S. military cemetery. Kilfoil originally launched “Mission Margraten 75” in 2019, a nonprofit born from the desire of Long Island veterans to attend the May 2020 75th anniversary of the Dutch Liberation from Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic forced Kilfoil to postpone his trip, plus the Dutch government had to cancel their liberation ceremonies. Now, however, new plans are being made for a return to the Netherlands.
“Our WWII Veterans were invited as guests of honor to take part in events marking that historic anniversary,” Kilfoil said. “One event was to have King Willem Alexander of the Netherlands as a participant, truly a great honor for the veterans.”
The veterans were also set to visit an American military cemetery at Margraten, where 8,300 U.S. WWII soldiers are buried. As the needs of that cemetery grew during WWII, a Dutch grave program began, which saw local families adopt and care for graves of the fallen American liberators. Our veterans were scheduled to honor and thank these beloved Dutch families.
Kilfoil, vice president of Honor Flight Long Island, said the pandemic may have derailed last year’s trip, but not the desire of our veterans to thank Dutch families for tending to U.S. graves. And now, because of improving conditions, the Netherland’s annual week-long Liberation Day Celebrations are back. You can bet Kilfoil’s veterans were excited to learn they will visit the cemetery in Margraten in May of 2022.
This ex-Marine knows his wonderful group of veterans are eager and ready to go, but that all may not be able to make it. Four veterans turned 100 during the pandemic. Another will turn 100 in November of 2021. The remainder are in their late 90s. That’s why Kilfoil asks all Long Islanders to pray that his “Band of Brothers” remains steadfast and able to perform “One Last Mission” for the United States of America.
To help make this trip a reality, Kilfoil has launched a new nonprofit, Mission Margraten Plus, and his kick-off fundraiser features Director Anthony Giacchino with a screening of his 2021 Academy Award Winning Film for Best Documentary Short Subject, Colette, followed by his six short films entitled Aftermath. Each short film tells a unique story of six different WWII veterans. Three of those veterans will be in attendance.
Enjoy big band music by one of the 100-year-old WWII veterans and his Sound Of Music Orchestra. Honored guests include the 17 WWII veterans that will fly to the Netherlands in May of 2022.
The fundariser will be held Saturday, Nov. 13 from 2 to 6 p.m. at the Great Neck South Middle School, 349 Lakeville Rd., Lake Success.
Cost is $25 per person at the door or text WW2GO to 243725 RSVP to Roger and Stephanie at 631-766-3296. For more info visit www.missionmargratenplus.org.
—Submitted by Honor Flight Long Island