WWII 1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind laid to rest at Normandy American Cemetery with full military honors

Jewish-American U.S. Army 1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind was laid to rest with full military honors at Normandy American Cemetery, France, today, 80 years after his death during World War II.

Members of the 56th Artillery Command, U.S. Army Europe and Africa, carry 1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind’s casket at Normandy American Cemetery, France. ©Julien Nguyen-Kim/ABMC

In June 1944, Baskind was assigned to Company C, 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion, as a platoon commander of four M-10 tank destroyers. Baskind landed on Utah Beach on D-Day and lost his life in the Battle of Cherbourg 17 days later, on June 23, 1944. 

1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind, circa 1944. Courtesy of Operation Benjamin

“Today is unique not just because we are burying and honoring an American soldier. Eighty years after 1st Lt. Baskind gave his last measure of devotion, here in Normandy... this ceremony is the statement of the very best American values, and human values.” said ABMC Secretary Charles K. Djou. 

ABMC Secretary Charles K. Djou delivers remarks in honor of 1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind's funeral at Normandy American Cemetery. ©Julien Nguyen-Kim/ABMC.

Baskind was laid to rest with military honors with family, friends, and U.S. and local officials in attendance. U.S. Consulate for Western France Elizabeth Webster, ABMC Secretary Charles K. Djou, Volksbund Secretary General Dirk Backen, Deputy Commanding General for Interoperability Brig. Gen. Kareem Montague, Operation Benjamin President Rabbi Dr. Jacob J. Schacter, and Operation Benjamin Chief Historian Shalom Lamm provided remarks to honor the memory and sacrifice of Baskind. The great-niece of Baskind, Dr. Samantha Baskind, offered family reflections before Jewish prayers were pronounced. 

“Nate's ambition was to be a successful businessman and his favorite remark was 'As I live and breathe,' shared Dr. Samantha Baskind, great-niece of Baskind. Today he will really be at rest in France. Today, a giant scar in my family will be at least partially healed.”

Dr. Samantha Baskind shares family memories of her great-uncle, 1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind. ©Julien Nguyen-Kim/ABMC

The ceremony concluded in the Garden of the Missing, where the name of Baskind has been memorialized since the aftermath of World War II to provide a place of mourning and remembrance to his family members. Eighty years after her great-uncle’s death, Dr. Samantha Baskind placed a bronze rosette next to his name to indicate that he is no longer missing. 

A bronze rosette is placed next to 1st Lt. Baskind's name on the Wall of the Missing at Normandy American Cemetery following the ceremony, to indicate that Baskind is no longer missing. ©Julien Nguyen-Kim/ABMC

“It is our mission to care for those individuals who gave their lives in service to our nation, no matter how many years have passed since they made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Scott Desjardins, Normandy American Cemetery superintendent. “It will be our honor to take care of 1st Lt. Baskind's grave and our mission to share his story from now on.”

Thanks to the collaboration of Operation Benjamin, the Volksbund, and the support of U.S. Army Europe and Africa units, this burial ceremony was a solemn moment to commemorate the sacrifice of 1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind and a reminder of Gen. John J. Pershing’s promise that “time will not dim the glory of their deeds.”

Baskind now rests plot A, row 14, grave 45, at Normandy American Cemetery, France. 

1st Lt. Nathan B. Baskind's headstone at Normandy American Cemetery, France. ©Julien Nguyen-Kim/ABMC