It's Memorial Day weekend and many are starting the holiday early, including me. But it's more than a holiday for eating burgers on the grill - it's a time to reflect upon all that we have and remember those who died to ensure our freedoms and liberties.
I always tear up when I think about brave men and women willingly joining our military services, leaving family and friends and heading off to places unknown because they believe our nation and our way of life is worth defending - with their very lives if necessary.
So I thought I'd share with you some photos of the various military cemeteries around the world where those brave individuals found their final resting place.
The photos and information come from the American Battle Monuments Commission which is an agency within the executive branch of our government. It was established in 1923 to be "the guardian of our nation's overseas commemorative cemeteries and memorials."
ABMC administers, operates, and maintains 24 permanent American burial grounds on foreign soil. Presently there are 124,905 U.S. war dead interred at these cemeteries, 30,921 of World War I, 93,234 of World War II and 750 of the Mexican War. Additionally 6,237 American veterans and others are interred in the Mexico City National Cemetery and Corozal American Cemetery.
We will never forget.
Aisne-Marne American Cemetery and Memorial in France: 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.
Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium: contains the graves of 5,323 of our military dead, many of whom died in the 1944 Ardennes winter offensive (Battle of the Bulge).
Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial in France: contains the remains of 4,410 of our war dead, most of whom lost their lives in the Normandy and Brittany Campaigns of 1944.
Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial in England: contains the graves of 468 of our military dead.
Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial site in England: contains the remains of 3,812 of our military dead; 5,127 names are recorded on the Tablets of the Missing.
Corozal American Cemetery in Panama: contains the remains of 5,424 American veterans and others who contributed to the construction, operation and maintenance of the Panama Canal.
Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France: contains the graves of 5,255 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the campaigns across northeastern France to the Rhine River and beyond into Germany. The cemetery was established in October 1944 by the 46th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company of the U.S. Seventh Army as it drove northward from southern France through the Rhone Valley into Germany. The cemetery became the repository for the fatalities in the bitter fighting through the Heasbourg Gap during the winter of 1944-45.
Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium: at this site rest 368 of our military dead, most of whom gave their lives in liberating the soil of Belgium in World War I.
Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy: contains 4,402 of our military dead, arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside. They represent 39 percent of the U.S. Fifth Army burials originally made between Rome and the Alps. Most died in the fighting that occurred after the capture of Rome in June 1944. Included among them are casualties of the heavy fighting in the Apennines Mountains shortly before the war's end.
I'll add more from the website tomorrow...