Established by Congress in 1923, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) commemorates the service, achievements, and sacrifice of U.S. armed forces. ABMC manages 25 overseas military cemeteries, and 26 memorials, monuments, and markers.
NARRATOR: What greater gift can a person give than to lay down their life for their country. Around the world, in ten different countries 125,000 Americans rest in fields they died to liberate. Honoring America’s fallen overseas and preserving these hallowed groundS for future generations is the purpose of the American Battle Monuments Commission. ABMC maintains 24 permanent overseas American military cemeteries and 25 federal memorials and monuments. The cemeteries are located in countries throughout Europe, in North Africa, in Latin America, and the Philippines. Several are near popular travel destinations such as Paris, London, Rome and Florence. These cemeteries are among the most beautiful and meticulously maintained shrines of their nature in the world.
WOMAN: I was just surprised by the sheer number of graves. When you come here, it makes you very proud as an American.
NARRATOR: Each is a masterpiece of landscape design, ennobled with great architecture, art and sculpture. Sacred and serene they were created to honor America’s fallen heroes. They were also intended for the living. Millions of Americans and foreign citizens come to visit ABMC cemeteries and memorials each year.
MAN: It’s a piece of America that’s located in France or Belgium or Luxembourg. I just feel a connection with home by being here.
NARRATOR: They come to experience the history. To pay homage to the honored war dead. To teach the children. Or to visit a lost family member or friend.
MAN 2: We’re greatly moved by the enormous numbers of crosses and the wonderful way it is kept.
NARRATOR: Not only is one awed by history and the contributions of Americans to liberty of the world. One is also swept into a special place with breathtaking gardens and magnificent landscapes.
MAN 3: I was impressed how well it’s kept. I was very moved as you can tell.
NARRATOR: Some of these places are well known like the American military cemetery at Normandy, but many more are undiscovered jewels of American history. Each ABMC cemetery is unique and has its own story of devotion to tell.
MAN 4: I made it a point to come here and visit my brother’s grave. I definitely feel honored to be here.
NARRATOR: Walking these hallowed ground enriches any travel experience. It is the visitors who give the cemeteries life and validate the tremendous sacrifice they represent.
MAN 5: It’s absolutely wonderful. It helps history come alive to be here. I just hope that more people visit these U.S. military cemeteries overseas and they can experience that for themselves.
NARRATOR: ABMC invites all to experience these commemorative shrines. The commission can provide the best route and modes of travel. Each cemetery also has a visitor center with helpful and knowledgeable staff. Plan to visit one of these extraordinary places on your next journey. Those who walk these fields of honor depart with a heightened sense of respect and thanks for the thousands of Americans who gave their lives so that the world might live in peace and freedom. For more information visit the ABMC website at www.abmc.gov .