ABMC Honors Americans Buried and Memorialized Overseas this Memorial Day Weekend
More than 500,000 Americans lost their lives in World War I and World War II defending democracy on soil and water far from the United States. The sacrifice of these men and women will be honored this Memorial Day weekend by the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) with ceremonies at America’s military cemeteries overseas, where more than 200,000 of these individuals are buried and memorialized.
At the time of these conflicts, family members were given the option to have a loved one returned home for interment, or permanently buried overseas. ABMC, an agency of the federal government, was created out of this need and has been working for more than nine decades to honor these individuals.
ABMC’s 25 cemeteries, located in France, England, Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Philippines, Tunisia, Panama, Mexico, will host Memorial Day ceremonies throughout the weekend. These commemorative sites include Americans from all ranks and walks of life that fought and died side-by-side.
Notable Burials at World War I Cemeteries:
- Sgt. Joyce Kilmer, American writer and poet, is buried at Oise-Aisne American Cemetery in France.
- Cpl. Freddie Stowers, an African-American who posthumously received the Medal of Honor in 1991, is buried at Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery in France.
- Flanders Field American Cemetery in Belgium is the smallest ABMC cemetery, with 368 burials and 43 names listed on the Walls of the Missing.
Notable Burials at World War II Cemeteries
- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr., is buried at Luxembourg American Cemetery.
- 2nd Lt. Preston and Sgt. Robert Niland, the brothers who inspired the film Saving Private Ryan, are buried at Normandy American Cemetery in France.
- Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., brother of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, is commemorated on the Walls of the Missing at Cambridge American Cemetery.
- Manila American Cemetery in the Philippines is the largest ABMC cemetery, with 17,202 burials and 36,286 names listed on the Walls of the Missing.
The ABMC works every day of the year to honor the sacrifices of all those Americans buried and memorialized overseas. These efforts will be further highlighted as ABMC commemorates the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings on June 6, 2014 with a binational ceremony at Normandy American Cemetery in France.
Established in 1923 by Congress, ABMC is a small, U.S. government agency charged with commemorating the service, achievements and sacrifice of the U.S. Armed forces. Max Cleland, Vietnam War veteran and former senator from Georgia, currently serves as the ABMC secretary. ABMC administers our nation’s overseas commemorative cemeteries and federal memorials. For more information visit www.abmc.gov, or connect with us on Facebook, Youtube or Instagram.