Do you really know American Battle Monuments Commission?

The American Battle Monument Commission (ABMC) is the U.S. federal agency that administers, operates, and maintains U.S. military cemeteries, and separate monuments, memorials and markers in the world. But do you really know our federal agency? Here are ten facts to know us better.


  1. The ABMC commemorates in 2023 its 100 years of existence. Indeed, ABMC was created in 1923 after World War I with a specific mission: to honor the service, achievements, and sacrifice of the U.S. armed forces.


  1. The ABMC oversees 26 cemeteries and 31 monuments, memorials, or markers in 17 countries. Four of the memorials are located in the U.S.: the Honolulu Memorial in Honolulu, the World War II East Coast Memorial in New York, the World War II West Coast Memorial in San Francisco and the World War I Memorial in Washington D.C.


  1. The ABMC is the guardian of approximately 200,000 American war dead interred or memorialized within its cemeteries. Approximately 35,000 are from World War I commemorative cemeteries, approximately 172,000 from World War II commemorative cemeteries, and about 750 from the Mexican-American War. Additionally, more than 15,200 American veterans and others are interred in the Mexico City National Cemetery, Corozal American Cemetery and Clark Veterans Cemetery. More than 100 Medal of Honor recipients are honored at ABMC sites.


  1. ABMC sites commemorate service members missing in action lost or buried at sea. Amongst the service members present at our sites, almost 95,000 American service men and women are missing in action, lost, or buried at sea during World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. They are commemorated by name on the walls of the missing at ABMC cemeteries and memorials. Bronze rosettes are placed by the names on the walls of the missing signifying the service members remains were recovered and identified.


  1. ABMC sites commemorate unknowns. About 10,500 headstones are the final resting place of unknow service members. It is our privilege to honor these individuals as they await identification and closure is afforded to their next-of-kin.


  1. At ABMC sites, service members are all equal in death. Since the creation of our cemeteries, even though the U.S. military was still not integrated and women’s roles were limited, all of the fallen were buried without regard to rank, position, race, ethnicity, sex or religion.


  1. Not only men are honored at ABMC sites. Over 170 women from World War I and World War II are honored within our sites. Approximately 1,600 women are also commemorated at Corozal American Cemetery.


  1. ABMC headstones include Stars of David. More than 2,250 Stars of David commemorate the service members of Jewish faith across ABMC sites. Other religions are buried under Latin crosses, the universal symbol for burials. The ABMC works closely with Operation Benjamin, a U.S.-based organization whose mission is to ensure that Jewish-American military members who made the ultimate sacrifice during World War II are buried under headstones that correctly reflect their faith and heritage.  


  1. The ABMC has a various range of employees. ABMC has staff across the globe, including more than 50 military veterans and 400 citizens from the host countries where the sites are located. They support the agency’s unique mission and are dedicated to preserving the memory of those commemorated at our sites either by taking care of our sacred places or by sharing the stories of those brave men and women buried or memorialized within their grounds.


  1. Visitors from all over the world visit our sites. In 2022, more than 2.5 million visitors from all over the world toured ABMC sites to honor the lives lost, pay tribute to the heroes and to learn about those who made the ultimate sacrifice for a better future. 


The ABMC unique mission enters its second century, but our commitment remains the same for those who gave everything for our freedom. As our first chairman, General of the Armies, John J. Pershing said, “Time will not dim the glory of their deeds.”


Sources:, ABMC documents, Historical Services.