Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died serving our nation. So many people have given up their lives in order to defend our rights, not only in the United States but in countries all over the world. American military memorials and cemeteries have been set up in many of these countries such as France, Germany, and Japan among others. Here is a list of the 24 military memorials and cemeteries that have been recognized throughout the world:
The 42.5-acre Aisne-Marne Cemetery and Memorial in France (map), sits at the foot of the hill where Belleau Wood stands with its headstones lying in a sweeping curve. The cemetery contains the graves of 2,289 war dead, most of whom fought in the vicinity and in the Marne valley in the summer of 1918 during WWI.
- The approach drive at Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium (map) leads to the memorial, a stone structure bearing on its façade a massive American eagle and other sculptures. Within are the chapel, three large wall maps composed of inlaid marbles, marble panels depicting combat and supply activities and other ornamental features.
- The Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in France (map) covers 28 acres of rolling farm country near the eastern edge of Brittany and contains the remains of 4,410 of our war dead, most of whom lost their lives in the Normandy and Brittany campaigns of 1944 during WWII inscribed along the retaining wall of the memorial terrace are inscribed the names of 498 of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.
The 4.5 acre Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial in England (map) lies to the west of the large civilian cemetery built by the London Necropolis Co. and contains the graves of 468 of our military dead. Close by are military cemeteries and monuments of the British Commonwealth and other allied nations. Automobiles may drive through the Commonwealth or civilian cemeteries to the American cemetery.
- The Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial site in England (map), 30.5 acres in total, was donated by the University of Cambridge. It lies on a slope with the west and south sides framed by woodland. The cemetery contains the remains of 3,812 of our military dead; 5,127 names are recorded on the Tablets of the Missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. Most died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in the strategic air bombardment of northwest Europe.
- Corozal American Cemetery and Memorial is located approximately 3 miles north from Panama City, Panama (map) in the city of Corozal and is the location of 5,336 American veterans and others. A paved walk leads from the Visitor Center to a small memorial that sits atop a knoll overlooking the graves area. The memorial was established in 1923 by Congress to remember people that served overseas since 1917. It consists of a paved plaza with a 12-foot rectangular granite obelisk flanked by two flagpoles on which fly the United States and Panamanian flags.
Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial is a United States military cemetery in Dinozé, France (map). The 48.6 acres (19.7 ha) site rests on a plateau 100 feet (30 m) above the Moselle River in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. It contains the graves of 5,255 of the United States’ military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the campaigns across northeastern France to the Rhine and beyond into Germany during World War II.
- The Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium (map) occupies a 6.2-acre site. Masses of graceful trees and shrubbery frame the burial area and screen it from passing traffic. At the ends of the paths leading to three of the corners of the cemetery are circular retreats, with benches and urns. At this peaceful site rest 368 of our military dead, most of whom gave their lives in liberating the soil of Belgium in World War I. Their headstones are aligned in four symmetrical areas around the white stone chapel that stands in the center of the cemetery.
- The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy (map) covers 70 acres, chiefly on the west side of the Greve “torrente.” The wooded hills that frame its west limit rise several hundred feet. Between the two entrance buildings, a bridge leads to the burial area where the headstones of 4,402 of our military dead are arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside.
- The Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in France (map) covers 113.5 acres and contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II in Europe, a total of 10,489. Their headstones are arranged in nine plots in a generally elliptical design extending over the beautiful rolling terrain of eastern Lorraine and culminating in a prominent overlook feature. Most of the dead here were killed while driving the German forces from the fortress city of Metz toward the Siegfried Line and the Rhine River.
- The Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg (map), 50.5 acres in extent, is situated in a beautiful wooded area. The cemetery was established on December 29, 1944 by the 609th Quartermaster Company of the U.S. Third Army while Allied Forces were stemming the enemy’s desperate Ardennes Offensive, one of the critical battles of World War II. The city of Luxembourg served as headquarters for General George S. Patton’s U.S. Third Army. General Patton is buried here.
- Within the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France (map), which covers 130.5 acres, rest the largest number of our military dead in Europe, a total of 14,246. Most of those buried here lost their lives during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I.
- The Mexico City National Cemetery (map) was established in 1851 by Congress to gather the American dead of the Mexican-American War that lay in the nearby fields and to provide burial space for Americans that died in the vicinity. A small monument marks the common grave of 750 unidentified American dead of the War of 1847.
The Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands (map) and contains the graves of 8,301 members of the American military. The cemetery site has a rich historical background, lying near the famous Cologne-Boulogne highway built by the Romans and used by Caesar during his campaign in that area.
- The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War II cemetery and memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France (map), that honors American soldiers who died in Europe during World War II.
- At the 27-acre North Africa American Cemetery and Memorial in Tunisia (map) rest 2,841 of our military dead, their headstones set in straight lines subdivided into 9 rectangular plots by wide paths, with decorative pools at their intersections.
The Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial is an American military cemetery in northern France (map). Plots A through D contains the graves of 6,012 American soldiers who died while fighting in this vicinity during World War I, 597 of which were not identified, as well as a monument for 241 Americans who were missing in action during battles in the same area and whose remains were never recovered. Included among the soldiers here who lost their lives is poet Joyce Kilmer.
- The site of the Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial in France (map) was selected because of its historic location along the route of the U.S. Seventh Army’s drive up the Rhone Valley. It was established on August 19, 1944 after the Seventh Army’s surprise landing in southern France.
- The Somme American Cemetery and Memorial in France (map) is sited on a gentle slope typical of the open, rolling Picardy countryside. The 14.3-acre cemetery contains the graves of 1,844 of our military dead.
- The St. Mihiel American Cemetery and Memorial in France (map) , 40.5 acres in extent, contains the graves of 4,153 of our military dead. The majority of these died in the offensive that resulted in the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient that threatened Paris.
- Originally a World War I cemetery, the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial just outside Paris, France (map) now shelters the remains of U.S. dead of both wars. The 7.5-acre cemetery contains the remains of 1,541 Americans who died in World War I and 24 Unknown dead of World War II.