European man travels to America to honor WWII soldier who died for his country's freedom

NOW: Netherlands man meets WWII veteran's family

BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's not everyday someone travels more than 3,000 miles to meet a stranger. This past weekend, one man came to Maine from The Netherlands to visit the family of an American WWII soldier who died for his country's freedom from Germany.

Joseph Wadman of Brownville Junction was one of several U.S. soldiers killed in the Battle of the Bulge. It was Nazi Germany's last major offensive campaign of WWII. Roel Timmermans, of the Netherlands, adopted Wadman's grave. Wadman is buried overseas at the Netherlands American Cemetery. Like many others, Wadman's grave is marked by a cross-shaped gravestone.

"My grandad, who took me to the cemetery for the first time  always said if it weren't for these crosses, we'd be speaking German." Timmermans said.

In Ellsworth Timmermans met Wadman's niece, Jennifer Wadman Myers, and her husband, Andrew. Timmermans found the couple on Facebook a few years ago. This Veterans Day Weekend they met in person for the first time.

"I wanted to meet those people very very badly," Timmermans said.

Timmermans brought a scrapbook he made which chronicles Wadman's life.

"It's given me an appreciation for what my uncle did," Wadman Myers said.

While in Maine, Timmermans celebrated Veterans Day with the family. They attended the Bangor Veterans Day Parade together and took a trip to the Maine Transportation Museum, which has a memorial dedicated to WWII. 

"These people came to defend my country."

Sunday the group traveled to Milo and Brownville Junction. Timmermans wanted to find out what Wadman's life in Maine may have looked like pre-WWII. Their final stop was the Milo Town Cemetery, where a new memorial for Wadman was placed.

This is an incredible story about two families united by one soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice.

 

© 2017 WLBZ-TV


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