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Concert for the Missing 2008
Missing American soldiers in the spotlight
The Concert for the Missing was held at the Amerikaplein in Margraten on Saturday 13 September 2008. The concert was given by the Jack Million Band and was intended as a tribute to the missing American soldiers whose memory is kept alive here in Margraten on the “Walls of the Missing” at the military cemetery.
Glenn Miller the “best-known” missing soldier of World War II
The Jack Million Band is a big-band ensemble consisting of twenty-one professional musicians from the Euregion, and has dedicated itself in particular to the performance of arrangements by the famous American bandleader Glenn Miller. Between 1938 and 1942, Miller led the most popular dance band in the United States. In 1942, he volunteered to serve in the US Army and became bandleader of the Army Air Force Band, which gave performances for Americans overseas fighting to liberate Europe from the Nazis. On December 15, 1944, he left England in a plane bound for Paris, but never arrived. Neither the plane nor his body were ever found, making Glenn Miller the most famous person missing in action during World War II.
Attention devoted to the American cemetery at the Glenn Miller Festival in the US
The prestigious Glenn Miller Festival is held annually in Glenn Miller’s birthplace Clarinda in the state of Iowa in memory of the famous musician. Leading American bands perform Glenn Miller’s music. Every year, a European band is also invited, and in 2006 that honor fell to the Jack Million Band for the second time. During that performance, the band projected pictures of where they come from, including pictures of the American cemetery in Margraten. The images made a great impression on the audience and sparked a great many conversations with Americans who were not aware of the existence of this impressive cemetery. This prompted Jack Coenen, the bandleader of the Jack Million Band, to investigate whether anything could be done with this information before their visit to the festival in June 2008. The band has adopted more than 250 names on the Walls of the Missing, of military personnel from the state of Iowa and the surrounding area, and invited the families of those missing persons to attend the concerts in Clarinda. The band contacted these family members in order to hear the significance for them of a war monument like the American cemetery in Margraten and of the adoption of graves and names of missing soldiers. These testimonies were captured on film.
American family members contribute to the Concert for the Missing
The Jack Million Band played a medley of Glenn Miller’s repertoire during the Concert for the Missing on September 13 in Margraten, with the theme “freedom and peace”. In addition, a number of the American testimonies were shown, in which family members explained the significance of the Walls of the Missing for them. This performance was made possible by the Municipality of Margraten and the Association for the Adoption of Graves at the American Cemetery of Margraten. This concert marked the start of a campaign to bring about the adoption of the remaining 1,722 missing persons. This Concert for the Missing took place the day before the Margraten Requiem, due to be held at the American cemetery.
For further information, visit: www.adoptiegraven-margraten.nl and www.jack-million.com.