Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

The American Battle Monuments Commission Luxembourg American Cemetery

The American Battle Monuments Commission(ABMC), established by law in 1923, is an independent agaency of the Executive Branch of the US Government. The Commission is responsible for commemorating the services and achievements of United States Armed Forces where they have served since April 6,1917 (the date of US entry into World War I) through the erection of suitable memorial shrines; for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining permanent US military cemeteries and memorials in foreign countries by other US citizens and organizations, both public and private; and encouraging the maintenance of such monuments and markers by their sponsors.
This cemetery, 50.5 acres un extent, is situated in a glade enframed by spruce, beech, oak, and other trees. It is one of fourteen permanent World Was II cemeteries erected on foreign soil. The site was liberates by the U.S. 5th Armored Division on 10 September 1944 and a temporary military burial ground was established here on 29 December 1944. Free use as a permanent burial ground was granted by the Grand Ducal government in perpetuity without charge or taxation. Later, the Grand Ducal government developed a parking area for the cemetery.

The graves area contains the remains of 5,076 American military Dead, including a woman Army Nurse, who lost their lives in the service of their country. These honored Dead came from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. In 22 instances, two brothers rest side-by-side in adjacent graves. One hundred and one headstones mark the graves of "Unknowns" whose remains could not be positively identified. White marble shafts surmounted by a Star of David mark the graves of 118 of the Jewish faith, white marble crosses mark the others.
The headstones are set in nine plots of fine grass. Separating the plots are two malls radiating from the memorial and two transverse paths. Two flagpoles overlook the graves area in front of the memorial. Between the flagpoles is the grave of General George S. Patton, Jr.
Each radial mall contains two fountains consisting of a pylon of Valore stone overlooking three jet pools on descending levels. High on the obverse side of the pylon is a bronze sea shell from which water flows into the pools. Bronze dolphins and turtles decorate the pools symbolizing, respectively, Resurrection and Everlasting Life.

The Pylons inscribed on the outer faces of the two rectangular pylons on the terrace are the name, rank, organization and state of entry into the militayr service of 371 Missing in Action of the United States Army and Army Air Forces. These men, whose remains were either never recovered or positively identified, came from 42 states and the District of Columbia. An asterisk sets out those sussequently identified. Above the names on each pylon is the inscription: HERE ARE RECORDED THE NAMES OF AMERICANS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY AND WHO SLEEP IN UNKNOWN GRAVES.
A large operations map, carved and fitted together from slabs of several types of granite, is set into the inner face of each pylon. The west pylon contains a map of military operations in western Europe from the landings in Normandy to the end of the war. The east pylon contains a map of the Ardennes and Rhineland campaigns to include the "Battle of the Bulge," subsequently fighting to clear the west bank of the Rhine, and the crossing of the Rhine River at Oppenheim. Flanking the maps are explanatory inscriptions in English and French.

No comments: