Story and photos by Senior Airman Isaac Olivera
86th Airlift Wing Public Affairs May 26, 2023
In honor of the 451 American infants buried at Kaiserslautern Cemetery, the Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation held an annual memorial service in the Kaiserslautern City Cemetery, May 20.
The children were born from 1952 to 1971 at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center or at German hospitals nearby, but passed away at birth or shortly after.
“Traditionally we hold this event on the Saturday after Mother’s Day,” said Christine Schneider, the German-American International Women’s Club president. “Our American friends and neighbors know that we care, regardless of the time that has passed.”
Following every Mother’s Day, a ceremony is held for the infants. This allows service members and families to show their support for those impacted by the children’s passing.
“There’s a sacred connection between parent and child,” said U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Otis C. Jones, 86th Airlift Wing commander. “We gather to reflect on these mothers and infants, but we can also reflect on our own children and the love we have for them.”
Those who attended the ceremony were families of children, local officials and members of the military community. Attendees placed wreaths, prayed, and observed a moment of silence.
“We all have different experiences but we understand how fragile life is,” said Jones. “We must cherish everyday, as a gift, one not to be taken for granted.”
Since 1986, Kaiserslautern Kindergraves Memorial Foundation has managed the upkeep of the Kindergraves, with support from the German-American International Women’s Club and the Ramstein Chiefs Group.