We were told that we were going to be part of a Memorial Day Ceremony in the Peace Woods. However, we did not grasp the magnitude of this event until we entered those woods.

The Peace Woods are a miniature, natural forest. People planted trees during the 50th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge in 1994. Of the 4,000 trees that make up the woods, 400 of them bear the names of American veterans who fought in the Battle of the Bugle during the winter of 1944 to 1945. More than 47,000 Soldiers gave their lives in the Ardennes campaign, which centered around Bastogne. An unexpected memorial in this remote Belgian wood is a small group of 28 trees planted by local children in memory of the children and teachers killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. The Peace Woods are designed to form the UNICEF emblem: a mother and her child. This is the symbol of human tenderness, and the picture can be viewed from the sky.

The afternoon was filled with speeches, singing and a somber sense of gratitude. Bagpipe music wafted through the air with renditions of both National Anthems, Amazing Grace and other songs.

Then there was the laying of the wreaths. Several dignitaries were assisted by area children to lay a wreath in respect and honor of those who gave their lives. I was sitting next to a representative of NATO, who was there to pay honor to the event, but had not been assigned the honor of laying a wreath. In an unexpected move, Borderless Arts was given the honor of laying the American wreath. Many of us were moved to tears. I must admit that I had to dig deep to maintain composure when walking those sacred grounds to bagpipe music with a Belgium child to pay tribute to our American soldiers.

Christian Kissinger stated, “Borderless Arts has been provided many honors from the Governor’s Arts Awards, to performing on top stages such as the Opry and Ryman, to making art to go into space…and the list goes on. However, the organization has never received such a high honor of such international magnitude as it did at that moment.” I will cherish this moment and his comments for my entire life.

Thank you to the Borderless Arts Tennessee board who approved this project.

A huge thank you to several individuals who provided funding support to make this incredible experience possible.

Robbie Ammons (Board member)
Tony Brown
Veronica Crook
Penley Produce Vacation Homes https://www.happyguidetoashortlife.com/2023/04/penley-produce/

Public Consulting Group
Robert Rhinehart
Alicia Stewart

We can never thank you enough!