The Howard May Story

In June 2010, Hope May (pictured above) was the first family member to have visited her Great Uncle's grave, Howard May. Uncle Howard was killed in action during WW2. Hope's father told her that Howard was buried in the Ardennes (Belgium), but after some investigating, she discovered that he was buried in Margraten, Netherlands.

The surprising part was that someone had been at the grave and left flowers. After inquiring at the office, Hope discovered that the "Schutterij: Young and Old Nobles" at Valkenburg adopted the grave. The Schutterij is essentially a town militia. Hope found their website and contacted them. In an email, they informed her that "We adopted the grave of your great uncle Howard May at random it was of gratitude to al the soldiers how were killed in the war...We adopted the grave many years ago and will be continueing for manny many years to come."

The Valkenburg Schutterij then directed Hope to their website which contains the photo below -- the girls in the photo below are two of the youngest members of the Valkenburg Schutterij and had left the flowers that you see above on Memorial Day 2010. The Schutterij have posted the correspondence with Hope on their website under
news. The May family hopes to visit the Schutterij in Valkenburg in Summer 2011. Stay tuned!

Hope can say that although she has never met her Great Uncle or has yet to see a photo of him, she was and is deeply moved by the experience of visiting the grave and by the story of the adoption of his grave.

Related videos of this story can be found here:
Young members of the Valkenburg Shutterij at Howard May's Grave on Memorial Day 2010. They were there about one week prior to Hope May's visit.