St. Mihiel American Cemetery adorns headstones with the public as part of French tradition for All-Saints Day

The American Battle Monuments Commission’s (ABMC) St. Mihiel American Cemetery adorned a number of its headstones with flowers, together with 27 visitors for All-Saints Day. Traditionally, French families maintain and flower the graves of their loved ones each year on November 1.

St. Mihiel American Cemetery invited visitors to do the same at its site: marking one grave in the cemetery with flowers to commemorate the fallen. Visitors had the opportunity to learn more about the site and the personal story of an individual buried there, bringing flowers to pay respects.

The event brought in 27 interested participants who came to remember the U.S. servicemembers who gave their lives near the nearby villages and towns. One such servicemember was Charles R. Davenport, from Newark, New Jersey, who was killed in action on April 20, 1918, with other comrades from the 26th Division near Seicheprey.

French visitors during All-Saints Day at St. Mihiel American Cemetery Credits: American Battle Monuments Commission.

“We wanted to create a relationship between the audience and the U.S. soldier or civilian honored, so we decided to identify some servicemembers who were killed near the villages the families were coming from”, said Joseph Alotto, St. Mihiel American Cemetery’s superintendent. “Our aim is to educate our public and carry on telling the stories of the brave U.S. military who died more than a century ago for our freedom.”

A French visitor flowering a headstone during All-Saints Day at St. Mihiel American Cemetery Credits: American Battle Monuments Commission.

St. Mihiel American Cemetery is located almost in the middle of the Saint-Mihiel Salient, after which it was named. It contains the graves of more than 4,100 of U.S. military dead. Approximately 300 additional names are inscribed on the Wall of the Missing in the chapel, memorializing the servicemembers who were not recovered. The majority of those honored or memorialized there perished in the offensive that resulted in the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient that threatened Paris in mid-September 1918.

The ABMC’s mission is to honor the service of the Armed Forces by creating and maintaining memorial sites, offering commemorative services, and facilitating the education of their legacy to future generations. It was founded in 1923 following World War I and its 26 cemeteries and 31 monuments honor the service men and women who fought and perished during World War I (WWI), World War II (WWII), the Korean War and the Vietnam War, as well as some who fought during the Mexican-American War.

Those sites are a constant reminder of Gen. John J. Pershing’s promise that “time will not dim the glory of their deeds.”



St. Mihiel American Cemetery’s team

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