ABMC Secretary Matz Visits Overseas Cemeteries and Memorials

Secretary William M. Matz, Jr., spent time overseas last week at a number of ABMC cemeteries and memorials in France to gain a better understanding of the operational needs of the agency. With 26 cemeteries and 29 memorials, monuments, and markers scattered throughout the globe and nearly 220,000 Americans honored at these sites, ABMC has a unique challenge faced by few other U.S. government agencies. To fulfill the promise made to families decades ago, these sacred sites are kept beautiful and pristine, a tribute befitting the sacrifice of our fallen service members.  

Matz spent time at Normandy American Cemetery and Aisne-Marne American Cemetery,  to name a few. During his visit he had the opportunity to meet with cemetery superintendents, guides, associates, and green space workers, such as gardeners and masons. He heard first-hand how the cemeteries operate and some of the challenges they face.

As he walked the hallowed grounds where our fallen eternally rest, and heard some of the personal stories of the men and women, the true weight of ABMC’s mission unfolded in front of him.

“War is often described in big numbers—concepts that erase the personalization of those who fought,” said Matz. “But walking through the cemeteries, reading the names, seeing the number of headstones….it makes the war personal. And I’m proud and humbled to be carrying the ABMC mission forward, protecting the memory of these men and women who paid the ultimate price in the fight for democracy.”