Cambridge University is one of the most prestigious universities in the world and it was amazing to see today how different their “campus” is from a school in the U.S. The buildings are all gorgeous, and we went in to King’s College Chapel (Cambridge University is made up of various colleges) to hear about the ornate stained glass windows from Mallory Wober. We then had a few hours to explore the “college town,” which was a collection of cafes, markets, and shops. This was all very cool to see, but the second half of the day was my favorite. After Cambridge we visited the Madingley American Cemetery, the only American World War II cemetery in the United Kingdom.
I did not realize how much I would be touched by this experience until I was looking at the wall of the missing soldiers. I was trying to wrap my head around what it would be like to have lost a family member or friend during this war, and this is so difficult to do but a lot of people had to do it. The only thing I could think about as I was looking at the names on the wall was that my brother is just about the age where he could have been drafted for this war. This is a terrifying thought to me, but it makes me respect the people who protect our country and freedom even more.
Thinking about this cemetery in terms of mass media is useful because it communicates an important message to the public. “To you from failing hands we throw the torch. Be yours to hold it high.” This quote from John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields” is written at the bottom of the American Flag pole. These words on the flagpole are symbols of life and death and how freedom must be upheld whether that is in the UK or the U.S. This quote was chose carefully to represent the fallen U.S. soldiers passing the symbolic torch of freedom to their survivors. War cemeteries are sites to honor all the people who have served for their country, and the fact that this is an American war memorial in the UK conveys a relationship between the two countries. It shows a mutual trust and sympathy for what the whole world experienced in the 1940s. The message Madingley American Cemetery sends to the public is important for anyone who comes to honor the brave men that sacrificed their lives in World War II. It does not matter where people come from, but they all uphold the values of freedom for all, and this is where the heart of the matter lies.