45 Pairs of Brothers

Tony Barnes By Tony Barnes, 26th Jun 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Religion

We frequently see flag draped caskets come back to the United States. But, an ocean away are over 20,000 Americans that were never returned to the states. Among them are 45 pairs of brothers.

Too Many Graves

I was stunned when I heard presidential candidate Rick Perry state that there are 45 pairs of American brothers buried at Normandy, France. Of those, 33 pairs of the brothers are buried beside each other. There is also a father and son buried by each other in the Normandy American Cemetery. The dad was a full bird colonel and the son a first lieutenant. Also in France, the World War I Lorraine American Cemetery hosts 30 sets of brothers that died in that war.

In my work with the wounded of our recent wars, I often hear accounts of death in combat. Many are the soldiers who speak of squad mates who didn’t come back from the foreign sands of battle. I often think of how this impacted families. I try to imagine for a moment the sight of two uniformed military members standing on a front porch awaiting entry into the house in front of them. That alarming scene that no family wants to witness is how the military notifies families of a loved one that has died while serving in uniform.

I can almost hear muffled sobs that grow into mournful, wailing cries from the depths of the soul. What moments earlier had been a household going about everyday activities, has become a family that will never be the same again. Yet those many decades earlier, there were 45 WWII families that not only withstood the crushing news of one son’s blood soaking into the soil of a foreign country…but, they had to receive news that two of their sons had paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom. Surely, a double dose of grief is almost more than a human can stand.

I have a feeling that this statistic will stick with me for the rest of my life. 78 pairs of brothers lay at rest in cemeteries in France because of two world wars. 78 families paid far more than they should have. As I try to absorb this fact, I now remember the Civil War when I am sure tens of thousands of families lost more than one family member as our nation tried to rip itself apart. I am fortunate in that I have never lost a close family member to war. But, I pray I never forget that many people have and I hope I never lose that twinge of grief I feel for them as I ponder the tragedy of it all.

My focus upon fallen brothers certainly isn’t meant to diminish the sacrifice of each and every fallen warrior and their families. But, something in my gut tells me that those families need an extra hug or thanks for the multiplied burdens they bear from the ravages of war. It’s been 2,000 years since Jesus preached the gospel from Judean hillsides. It was a message of peace, love and salvation. How he must grieve at the sights of blood still being shed in the cities, towns and fields of combat.

During our holidays that celebrate freedom, veterans and fallen warriors, let us never forget that the price of freedom has cost families their loved ones. And, let us also remember that in a land far, far away on the other side of the Atlantic lay the graves of over 20,000 heroes that fought in two world wars. They didn’t get to come home. But, their memories are in the hearts of those of us who are stateside from sea to shining sea.


000 Heroes, Civil War, Lorraine American Cemetery, Normandy, Rick Perry, Sands Of Battle, World Wars, Wwi, Wwii

Meet the author

author avatar Tony Barnes
I am a native Texan who spent 3 years in the Marine Corps Reserves and 25 years on active duty in the Air Force. I have been a Christian since 1985 and am an ordained minister. I am conservative politically and love to study history. I publish a mont...(more)

Share this page

moderator Steve Kinsman moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Helen Thomas
27th Jun 2015 (#)

Those are alarming statistics ~ Tony. Thanks for sharing this post.


Reply to this comment

author avatar Retired
27th Jun 2015 (#)

Amazing article Tony. We must always remember those that are fallen. God bless you.

Reply to this comment

author avatar GV Rama Rao
30th Jun 2015 (#)

As a veteran of the Indian Navy, I admire your article and concern for those that do not return frm the battle field. I fought two wars and lost some of my good friends who visit me in my dreams even now. Losing a friend is terrible to me. I can imagine the anguish of the close family members. You have written an excellent piece for which I commend you.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?