The blockbuster film “Saving Private Ryan” was inspired by the true story of the Niland family from New York. Two of the Niland brothers are buried next to one another in the Normandy ABMC Cemetery above Omaha Beach. The Niland family is representative of hundreds of American families who lost more than one son during WWII. In the ABMC Cemetery of Henri-Chapelle, in Belgium, thirty sets of brothers are buried among the 7,989 US military dead. On the USS Arizona, twenty-three sets of brothers died on December 7, 1941.
When we stop to pay our respects at the Niland brothers’ graves, we commemorate and grieve for families like the Nilands who sacrificed so much.