***image1***Baby Alan Ray Bonney was born in the Birkenfeld Army Hospital in July 1966. He was the first born to 2nd Lt. Ray Bonney and his wife Anita.
Alan Ray came into this world six weeks premature and died of pulmonary distress two days later. His tiny body rests in the Kaiser-slautern Waldfriedhof (city cemetery) along- side hundreds of other American children in an area named “The Kindergraves.”
According to the Ramstein Area Chief’s Group, the Kindergraves serve as the final resting place for 451 infant children of American servicemembers stationed in Germany between 1952 and 1971.
These infant children were cheated out of life by untreatable childhood diseases and other complications. Transportation for a stateside burial was not available during those years.
The Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation provides oversight to the maintenance, restoration and preservation of the Kinder-graves. This organization is jointly chaired by the Ramstein Area Chief’s Group and the German American and International Women’s Club.
An important mandate of the partners is to “Keep the children’s memories alive” by ensuring the children’s eternal resting place continually receives the attention it deserves.
The Chief’s Group volunteered as the official agent in leasing the land where the “U.S. Forces Kinder” monument now stands.
While the Kindergraves look as if they receive tender loving care from their families, most of the families left Germany decades ago. The care and upkeep of the site is performed by volunteers supporting the Kaiser-slautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation.
Volunteers help cut grass, rake leaves, clean grave markers and tend to the flowers year round. Private donations fund the maintenance activities.
Each spring, on the Saturday following Mother’s Day, the Ramstein Area Chief’s Group and German American and International Women’s Club conduct the Kindergraves memorial ceremony.
The AF Jr. Reserve Officer Training Corps Color Guard leads the procession to the Kindergraves site to pay tribute to the children.
The 2004 memorial ceremony takes place at 10 a.m. May 15 at the Daenner Kaserne Chapel.
The chapel is located on the U.S. Army Daenner Kaserne, route B-37 (Mannheimer Strasse), Kaiser-slautern East. The ceremony is open to the public.
For more information regarding the Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation contact, Chief Master Sgt. Terence DeLay at terence.delay @ramstein.af.mil or Senior Airman Stephanie Hamm at email@example.com.