Toespraak Janice Wiggins

Gepubliceerd: woensdag 19 november 2014

Ter afsluiting van de reeks aan speeches hierbij de toespraak van Janice Wiggins, de weduwe van Jefferson Wiggins. Samen met hun dochter en kleinzoon waren zij afgereisd naar Nederland om bij de presentatie van het boek en het speciale eerbetoon aan de in Margraten begraven Afro-Amerikanen aanwezig te kunnen zijn.

Thank you, Mieke. This will be among the most treasured books in our home.

This book has truly been a work of the heart and soul. For many years, Mieke has been passionate about bringing the untold stories to light…stories of those whose role in history has been overlooked, hidden, or ignored. In writing this book, she spent months researching, recording, and generously sharing what she learned. Her work has helped to complete history and to build a much needed and enduring bridge of knowledge and understanding. For that, I am truly grateful.

My husband often said that each of us has a place in history; each of us has experiences and stories to share that can add to the understanding of life. Sadly, for the most part, these stories are often missed because we don’t take the time to ask questions, to listen, and to appreciate the stories that others have to share – often extraordinary stories that are buried just beneath the surface of seemingly ordinary lives.

We remember the headlines of history – the big events that make the news and are recorded for generations that follow. But in reality, most of history is shaped by the lives of ordinary people, people whose names and pictures never appear in history books, and are never seen in newspapers or on television. Ordinary people who, in their daily lives, are called upon to do extraordinary things.

In the case of Jeff and his company, the 960th Quartermaster Service Corps, they were men of humble beginnings who were called upon to spend long, cold days in muddy fields, surrounded by what were often mangled, decaying bodies – men who were called upon to respectfully and compassionately bury soldiers they were not allowed to freely associate with in life because the segregated society they lived in told them they were not worthy of that association.

Other ordinary people - like those in the Netherlands who faced each terrifying day bravely protecting their children, their elders, and, yes, sometimes, even strangers from the terror of occupying forces who were determined to obliterate their way of life and, in many cases, determined to obliterate life itself.

Ordinary people around the world who, even today, struggle to live good and decent lives and to pass to their children hope for the future despite having no access to life’s most basic requirements – food, shelter, healthcare, safety.

These are the untold stories. These are the stories that shape our world; these are the stories that shape our history. These are the stories that must be heard in order for history to be complete.

I am grateful to Mieke for taking an important step in completing our collective history.

And I challenge each of you to take your own step. Take the time to uncover one untold story…ask questions, listen to the answers, appreciate, and document or pass on the story of a seemingly ordinary person in your own life.

And remember the wise words of the author Anne Farrow:

“If our history is incomplete, then collectively we have forgotten who we are.”

Bestel het boek!

U kunt het boek Van Alabama naar Margraten bestellen via de website. U betaalt € 19,95 per boek (exclusief verzendkosten van € 4,00, ongeacht het aantal boeken). Klik hier om het boek te bestellen. U kunt het boek ook aanschaffen bij een van deze verkooppunten.



Van Alabama naar Margraten
Postbus 22
6269 ZG Margraten

Anderen over het boek

"Het is fascinerend om te lezen hoe Jeff Wiggins door de oorlog zich steeds meer bewust werd van de grote verschillen tussen blank en zwart. En met hem mee te leven op de stranden van Normandië en later als grafdelver op het oorlogskerkhof in Margraten."

- Jacques Vriens