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Dutch man cares for W.Va. soldier’s grave

Photo provided to The Dominion Post Maarten Vossen kneels beside the grave of West Virginia soldier James Wickline, in the Netherlands.
Photo provided to The Dominion Post
Maarten Vossen kneels beside the grave of West Virginia soldier James Wickline, in the Netherlands.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Maarten Vossen doesn’t mind admitting that as a youngster, he didn’t know all that much about World War II.

And that was even with him growing up just 15 minutes from a cemetery honoring American war dead in his native Holland.

Then he saw “Saving Private Ryan,” and that changed everything.

He was moved by the film’s depiction of struggle to make western Europe safe from the ravages of the Third Reich.

At the age of 13, he “adopted” a grave in the cemetery that turned out to be that of James Wickline, a paratrooper from Osage who died when his chute failed to open on a mission.

Thirteen years later, at the age of 26, he’s still caring for that grave — on top of finding out everything he can about the soldier who was drafted after graduating from University High School in 1942.

Vossen is journeying to Morgantown this week …

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