American Battle Monuments Commission

Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial

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LOCATION

 

The Netherlands Cemetery, the only American military cemetery in theNetherlands, is located near the southeast limit of the country in the village of Margraten, 6 miles (10 km) east of Maastricht, on the main highway to Aachen, Germany, which is 14 miles (22 km) farther east. Margraten is 70miles (112 km) east of Brussels and 252 miles (405 km) northeast of Paris. Maastricht may be reached by train from Brussels, from Paris (Gare du Nord – in approximately 7 hours), any city in Holland, or from Germany via Aachen. A bus service from Maastricht railroad station passes the cemetery entrance.

To reach Margraten by automobile from the north, west or south, follow the

appropriate highway to Maastricht, then east along the Cadier en Keer/Vaals highway

(N278). If driving from Aachen, follow the Maastricht highway (N278) west for 11 miles (18 km) after passing the Netherlands border.

There are good hotels at Maastricht, Valkenburg, 4.5 miles (7 km), Aachen and at other towns in the vicinity.

 

HOURS

 

The cemetery is open daily to the public from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm except December 25 and January 1. It is open on host country holidays. When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the Visitors’ Building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites.

 

HISTORY

 

Three months after the successfully landings on the beaches of Normandy, Allied forces had advanced farther than they had thought possible. By mid-September 1944, the U.S. First Army had crossed Luxembourg; captured Liege, Belgium; reached the German frontier near Aachen; and entered the Netherlands near Maastricht. The U.S. Third Army sweeping across France on the right had reached the Moselle River and made contact with the U.S. Seventh Army driving northward from southern France. The British Second Army on the left had liberated Brussels and Antwerp, as the Canadian First Army kept pace with it along the coast liberating Ostend and Bruges. Both Armies then found themselves astride the Netherlands frontier.

At this point, enemy defenses began to stabilize around the Siegfried Line, with the heavily fortified cities in front of that line to the west, and the more easily defensible natural barriers provided by the numerous rivers and canals in the Netherlands to the east.

In an attempt to outflank the north end of the Siegfried Line, the Allies launched a combined airborne- ground assault along a narrow corridor across three major rivers (the Meuse, the Rhine and the Neder Rijin) and several canals, the success of which among other things depended heavily upon surprise. At 1400 hours on 17 September 1944, elements of three divisions of the Allied First Airborne Army were landed by parachute and glider in column along the main road from Eindhoven to Nijmegen to Arnhem, a distance of 64 miles from the starting point of the supporting British 30 Corps. Almost immediately, 30 Corps, consisting of one Armored and two Infantry Divisions, encountered stronger resistance than was anticipated. Therefore, its progress was much slower than planned.

Aided by air cover from the U.S. Eighth and Ninth Air Forces and the Royal Air Force, the landings on the drop zones were extraordinarily successful. In the Eindhoven area, the U.S. 101st Airborne Division captured all bridges except one that was destroyed by the enemy. Contrary to plans, the supporting ground column did not reach Eindhoven until the second day and it was early on the third day before the destroyed bridge was replaced. South of Nijimegen, the U.S. 82bd Airborne Division quickly seized the bridge over the Maas (Meuse) River. It was not until the 4th day (20 September), however, that the bridge over the Waal (Rhine) River was captured and not until the 5th day that all defenders were cleared from the area and ground troops were able to cross. The most important bridge of all over the Neder Rijin (lower Rhine) was still ten miles away.

Enemy reaction at Arnhem was swift and telling, as it quickly separated the battalion of the British 1st Airborne Division that had seized the north end of the Arnhem bridge from the remainder of the division and encircled the drop zones west of the city.

Harsh weather further complicated the problem by preventing the cutoff battalion from being supported from the air. On the 5th day, a Polish Parachute Brigade made a valiant but unsuccessful attempt to reinforce it. Even when ground troops arrived on 23 September (the 7th day), all attempts to send reinforcements north of the river failed.

After dark on 25 September, the battalion’s remnants, less then one-quarter of those who had landed, were evacuated to the south bank.

Allied progress during the next three months was slow as opposition stiffened in all areas. The British Second Army concentrated on widening the sides of the Nijmegen corridor, while the Canadian First Army performed the difficult task of opening the Schelde estuary, so that the port of Antwerp could begin to operated on 28 November and ease the logistical burden. The main Allied offensive effort during this period was shifted to the center of the enemy defenses. There, the U.S. First Army with strong air support from the U.S. Ninth Air Force, broke through the Siegfried Line and encircled Aachen which surrendered on 21 October. The U.S. Ninth Army, which had been organized at Brest in Brittany, was shifted from the U.S. First Army’s right flank to its left. Together, the two Armies continued the assault to the Roer River. On its right, the U.S. Third Army and the U.S. Seventh Army, with the French First Army on the extreme right, made substantial gains toward the German frontier.

Suddenly on 16 December 1944, the Allied advance was interrupted as the enemy launched its final major counteroffensive of the war in the Ardennes, followed by a second assault in Alsace to the south. By the end of January 1945, these offensives were halted and all ground retaken. The Allies then resumed their advance, which was planned in two stages. The first stage was to clear all enemy units west of the Rhine; the second was to invade Germany itself.

The advance to the Rhine in the north was scheduled to begin on 8 February 1945, with the Canadian First Army attacking to the southeast, followed in two days by a converging attack to the northeast by the U.S. Ninth and First Armies. When the V Corps of the First Army seized control of the upstream dams of the Roer on 10 February, it discovered that the enemy had destroyed the discharge valves the evening before. The resultant heavy flow of water halted the attack there for two weeks.

At 0245 hours on 23 February, following a short but intensive air and artillery bombardment, the U.S. Ninth Army lowered its assault boats into the swirling waters and began to cross the Roer River before the flood waters had completely subsided. Despite heavy enemy artillery fire, Julich was captured on the first day, with the support of fighters and medium bombers of the U.S. Ninth Air Force. By 25 February, all four corps of the U.S. Ninth Army had crossed the Roer and were advancing. As the advance turned northward, the armored units were committed.

By 1 March 1945, the industrial city of Monchen-Gladbach had been captured. It was the largest German City taken to date. Now the advance became a race to destroy as many units as possible before they could retreat across the Rhine. Despite constant harassment by our aircraft, the enemy was able to demolish all bridges across the Rhine. On 10 March, the entire west bank of the Rhine from Dusseldorf northward was in Allied hands.

The major assault crossing of the Rhine occurred on 23-24 March, when the U.S. Ninth Army crossed at Rheinberg, a city it had captured on 6 March. Advancing Allied armies by-passed the northern Netherlands, encircled the Ruhr, then pursued the retreating enemy throughout Germany and Austria. All enemy forces in Europe surrendered on 8 May 1945.

 

SITE

 

The cemetery occupies 65 ½ acres of gently rolling farmland just south of the highway.

The site was liberated on 13 September 1944 by troops of the U.S. 30th Infantry Division

which were advancing northeastward toward the Roer in Germany, as part of the U.S. First Army. A battlefield cemetery, one of the first to be used for the interment of American soldiers who fell on German soil, was established here on 10 November 1944 by the U.S. Ninth Army.

Here rest 8,302 of our military Dead, representing 43 percent of those who were originally buried in this and in other temporary cemeteries in this region. Most of them gave their lives in the airborne and ground operations to liberate eastern Holland, during the advances into Germany over the Roer and across the Rhine and in air operations over these regions.

 

ARCHITECTS

 

Architects for the cemetery and memorial were Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson and Abbott, of Boston, Massachusetts. The landscape architects were Clark, Rapuano and Halleran of New York City.

 

GENERAL LAYOUT

 

From the entrance gate on the south side of the Maastricht-Aachen highway the approach drive leads to the right, around a grassed oval, to the steps leading to the Court of Honor. Immediately north and south of these steps are the parking areas. Farther to the south is the service area.

The Court of Honor of the memorial leads to the tower containing the chapel. Beyond the chapel is the burial area. The cemetery and memorial were completed in 1960.

 

THE MEMORIAL

 

Flanking the entrance to the Court of Honor on the south side is the Visitors’ Building.

On the north side is the museum room.

On the exterior wall of the museum is this inscription taken from General Dwight

D. Eisenhower’s dedication of the Golden Book in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London:

 

HERE WE AND ALL WHO SHALL HEREAFTER LIVE IN FREEDOM

WILL BE REMINDED THAT TO THESE MEN AND THEIR COMRADES

WE OWE A DEBT TO BE PAID WITH GRATEFUL REMEMBRANCE

OF THEIR SACRIFICE AND WITH THE HIGH RESOLVE

THAT THE CAUSE FOR WHICH THEY DIED SHALL LIVE.

 

Engraved on the Roman Travertine walls within the museum are three maps embellished with mosaic and bronze and enamel appliques. The large map on the north wall records the progress of the military operations from the landings in Normandy until the end of the war. Mention is also made of the strategic air attacks which started in 1942. Accompanying the map is a descriptive text in English and Dutch of which this is the English version:

 

ON 6 JUNE 1944, PRECEDED BY AIRBORNE UNITS AND COVERED BY NAVAL

AND AIR BOMBARDMENT, UNITED STATES AND BRITISH COMMOWEALTH

FORCES LANDED ON THE COAST OF NORMANDY. PUSHING SOUTHWARD

THEY ESTABLISHED A BEACHHEAD SOME 20 MILES IN DEPTH. ON 25 JULY,

IN THE WAKE OF A PARALYZING AIR BOMBARDMENT BY THE U.S. EIGHTH

AND NINTH AIR FORCES AND THE ROYAL AIR FORCE. THE U.S. FIRST

ARMY BROKE OUT OF THE BEACHHEAD WEST OF ST. LO. ON 1 AUGUST IT

WAS JOINED BY THE U.S. THIRD ARMY. TOGETHER THEY REPULSED A

POWERFUL COUNTERATTACK TOWARD AVRANCHES. CRUSHED BETWEEN

THE AMERICANS ON THE SOUTH AND WEST AND THE BRITISH ON THE

NORTH, AND ATTACKED CONTINUOUSLY BY THE ALLIED AIR FORCES, THE

ENEMY RETREATED ACROSS THE SEINE.

SUSTAINED BY THE HERCULEAN ACHIEVEMENTS OF ARMY AND

NAVY SUPPLY PERSONNEL, THE ALLIED ARMIES AND AIR FORCES

PURSUED VIGOROUSLY. BY MID-SEPTEMBER THE U.S. NINTH ARMY HAD

LIBERATED BREST; THE FIRST ARMY HAD SWEPT THROUGH FRANCE,

BELGIUM AND LUXEMBOURG AND WAS STANDING ON THE THRESHOLD

OF GERMANY; THE THIRD ARMY HAD REACHED THE MOSELLE AND HAD

JOINED FORCES WITH THE U.S. SEVENTH AND THE FRENCH FIRST ARMIES

ADVANCING NORTHWARD FROM THE MEDITERRANEAN. ON THE LEFT

FLANK, BRITISH AND CANADIAN TROOPS HAD ENTERED THE

NETHERLANDS. ON 17 SEPTEMBER THREE AIRBORNE DIVISIONS DROPPED

IN THE EINDHOVEN-ARNHEM AREA IN A BOLD BUT UNSUCCESSFUL

ATTEMPT TO OUTFLANK THE FORTIFIED SIEGFRIED LINE.

PROGRESS DURING THE NEXT THREE MONTHS WAS SLOW, THE

FIGHTING BITTER AS OPPOSITION STIFFENED. THE OPENING OF THE PORT

OF ANTWERP ON 28 NOVEMBER MATERIALLY EASED THE LOGISTICAL

BURDEN. IN THE CENTER THE FIRST AND NINTH ARMIES SEIZED AACHEN

AND FOUGHT THEIR WAY TO THE ROER. METZ FELL AS THE THIRD ARMY

PUSHED TO THE SAAR. ON ITS RIGHT, THE SEVENTH ARMY AIDED BY THE

FIRST TACTICAL AIR FORCE DROVE TO THE RHINE AT STRASBOURG,

WHILE FRENCH TROOPS FREED MULHOUSE.

IN THE ARDENNES, ON 16 DECEMBER, THE ENEMY LAUNCHED HIS

FINAL MAJOR COUNTEROFFENSIVE. PROMPT TACTICAL COUNTERMEASURES

AND THE SUPERB FIGHTING QUALITIES OF AMERICAN

SOLDIERS AND AIRMEN FINALLY HALTED THIS DRIVE. DURING

FEBRUARY AND MARCH THE WEST BANK OF THE RHINE WAS CLEARED IN

A SERIES OF HIGHWAY SUCCESSFUL OPERATIONS. IN RAPID SUCCESSION,

AMERICAN FORCES SEIZED A BRIDGE AT REMAGEN, CROSSED THE RHINE

AT OPPENHEIM, THEN ON 23-24 MARCH STAGED WITH THE BRITISH THEIR

MAJOR ASSAULT CROSSING NEAR WESEL. PUSHING RAPIDLY EASTWARD

OUR ARMIES ENCIRCLED THE ENTIRE RUHR VALLEY IN A GIGANTIC

DOUBLE EVELOPMENT. WITH THE AIR AND GROUND FORCES OPERATING

AS A TEAM, THE ALLIES SWEPT ACROSS GERMANY TO MEET THE

ADVANCING TROOPS OF THE USSR AND FORCE THE COMPLETE

SURRENDER OF THE ENEMY ON 8 MAY 1945, 337 DAYS AFTER THEIR

INITIAL LANDINGS IN FRANCE.

 

On the west wall the map portrays the daring large-scale airborne operation which was intended to outflank the fortified Siegfried Line and seize the crossings of the Lower Rhine. It, too, is accompanied by an inscription in both languages of which this is the English version:

 

IN EARLY SEPTEMBER 1944, THE ALLIED FORCES WERE MOVING

NORTHEASTWARD IN A SWEEPING ADVANCE. PROGRESS THROUGH

FRANCE AND BELGIUM WAS RAPID, BUT AS OUR TROOPS APPROACHED

THE GERMAN FRONTIER THE OPPOSITION STIFFENED. TO OUTFLANK THE

SIEGFRIED LINE AND THUS TO OBTAIN IMMEDIATELY A BRIDGEHEAD

OVER THE RHINE, THE ALLIES LAUNCHED A STRONG AIRBORNE AND

GROUND ASSAULT IN THE EASTERN NETHERLANDS.

ON 17 SEPTEMBER 1944 ELEMENTS OF THE U.S. 101ST AND 82ND

AIRBORNE DIVISIONS AND THE BRITISH 1 AIRBORNE DIVISION DROPPED

IN COLUMN ALONG THE MAIN ROAD FROM ENDHOVEN TO ARNHEM.

THEIR MISSION WAS TO CAPTURE THE BRIDGES OVER THE MAJOR CANALS

AND OVER THE MAAS, THE WAAL AND THE NEDER RIJN, THUS

ESTABLISHING A CORRIDOR THROUGH WHICH THE BRITISH 30 CORPS

WOULD ADVANCE RAPIDLY AND ESTABLISH ITSELF NORTH OF THE

NEDER RIJN. ON THAT DAY MORE THAN 1,500 TROOP CARRYING

AIRCRAFT AND 478 GLIDERS OF THE U.S. IX TROOP CARRIER COMMAND

AND THE ROYAL AIR FORCE, PROTECTED BY 2,200 COMBAT AIRPLANES OF

THE U.S. EIGHTH AND NINTH AIR FORCES AND THE ROYAL FORCE,

CARRIED APPROXIMATELY 50% OF THE STRENGTH OF THE THREE

AIRBORNE DIVISIONS. INTENSIVE AIR BOMBARDMENT OF ANTI AIRCRAFT

GUN POSITIONS AND AIRFIELDS, AND THE ACHIEVEMENT OF SURPRISE

CONTRIBUTED TO THE SUCCESS OF THE INITIAL OPERATIONS.

IMMEDIATELY AFTER LANDING, THE 101ST AIRBORNE DIVISION

SECURED THE BRIDGES IN ITS AREA EXCEPT THAT AT SON WHICH THE

ENEMY DESTROYED. THE 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION CAPTURED INTACT

THE BRIDGE ACROSS THE MAAS AT GRAVE BUT FOUND NIJMEGEN TOO

STRONGLY HELD. A BATTALION OF THE BRITISH A AIRBORNE DIVISION

REACHED ARNHEM AND SEIZED THE NORTHERN EDGE OF THE HIGHWAY

BRIDGE ACROSS THE NEDER RIJN, BUT OVERPOWERING ENEMY FORCES

HELD THE REMAINDER OF THE DIVISION WITHIN A SMALL PERIMETER

WEST OF THE CITY. ON SUCCEEDING DAYS, BAD WEATHER DELAYED

AIRBORNE REINFORCEMENTS AND SUPPLIES AND THUS PREVENTED

EFFECTIVE AIR ASSISTANCE TO THE FORCES FIGHTING TO ESTABLISH AND

MAINTAIN THE CORRIDOR.

MENWHILE THE ADVANCING 30 CORPS PASSED THROUGH THE 101ST

AIRBORNE DIVISION WHICH HAD CAPTURED EINDHOVEN. IT THEN JOINED

THE 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION IN ITS ATTACK ON THE NIJMEGEN BRIDGES,

BOTH OF WHICH WERE FINALLY SEIZED INTACT ON THE EVENING OF 20

SEPTEMBER BY THE 82ND AIRBORNE DIVISION IN COOPERATION WITH

BRITISH ARMORED UNITS; BUT BRITISH INFANTRY COULD NOT REACHA

THE SOUTH BANK OF THE NEDER RIJN IN FORCE UNTIL 24 SEPTEMBER.

THE ENEMY PREVENTED ALL ATTEMPTS TO REINFORCE THE TROOPS

BEYOND THE RIVER, AND AFTER DARK ON 25 SEPTEMBER THE REMNANTS

OF THE DECIMATED 1ST AIRBORNE DIVISION WERE EVACUATED.

 

On the east wall the map records the operations in the crossing of the Roer and the advance to the Rhine; this is the English version of its inscription:

 

UPON THE VICTORIOUS CONCLUSION OF THE ARDENNES CAMPAIGN ON 25

JANUARY 1945 THE ALLIES UNDERTOOK THE TASK OF DESTROYING THE

ENEMY ARMIES WEST OF THE RHINE. THE FIRST ATTACK WAS TO BE

MADE ON THE NORTHERN FLANK BY THE CANADIAN FIRST ARMY AND

THE U.S. NINTH ARMY; THE U.S. FIRST ARMY WAS TO ADVANCE ON THEIR

RIGHT. THE CANADIANS OPENED THE OFFENSIVE ON 8 FEBRUARY BUT ON

THE NEXT DAY THE ENEMY FLOODED THE ROER VALLEY BY RELEASING

THE WATER FROM AN UPSTREAM DAM. THIS CREATED AN IMPASSABLE

OBSTACLE BEFORE THE NINTH ARMY, WHICH THEN POSTPONED ITS

ASSAULT FOR NEARLY TWO WEEKS. DURING THE RESULTING DELAY THE

U.S. EIGHTH AND NINTH AIR FORCES CONTINUOUSLY ATTACKED

BRIDGES, RAILROAD TRACKS AND MARSHALLING YARDS ON BOTH SIDES

OF THE RHINE TO ISOLATE THE BATTEFIELD. REACHING A CLIMAX ON 22

FEBRUARY, THE BOMBARDMENT SYSTEMATICALLY DISRUPTED THE

ENEMY COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORTATION SYSTEMS THROUGHOUT

GERMANY.

IN THE EARLY MORNING HOURS OF 23 FEBRUARY, FOLLOWING AN

INTENSIVE ARTILLERY PREPARATION, THE LEADING UNITS OF THE NINTH

ARMY LOWERED THEIR ASSAULT BOATS INTO THE SWIRLING WATERS OF

THE STILL FLOODED ROER. THE SWIFT CURRENT AND ENEMY ARTILLERY

FIRE ON THE CROSSING SITES MADE PASSAGE OF THE RIVER MOST

HAZARDOUS, BUT THE XIX CORPS ADVANCED AND CAPTURED JULICH ON

THE FIRST DAY WHILE THE XIII CORPS MADE SUBSTANTIAL GAINS IN THE

LINNICH AREA. FIGHTERS AND MEDIUM BOMBERS OF THE NINTH AIR

FORCE CLOSELY SUPPORTED THE FORWARD UNITS, DESTROYING ENEMY

TANKS AND EQUIPMENT; THE BRIDGEHEADS ON THE EAST BANK WERE

MADE SECURE BY THE END OF THE SECOND DAY.

ONCE ACROSS THE RIVER, THE U.S. NINTH ARMY OFFENSIVE

RAPIDLY GATHERED MOMENTUM. ON 25 FEBRUARY THE XVI CORPS

CROSSED ON THE LEFT FLANK. ARMORED UNITS WERE COMMITTED AS

THE DIRECTION OF ADVANCE TURNED NORTHWARD AND BROKE

THROUGH THE ENEMY LINES BY 1 MARCH THE INDUSTRIAL CENTER OF

MONCHEN-GLADBACH HAD BEEN CLEARED, THE LARGEST GERMANY

CITY YET CAPTURED BY ALLIED FORCES.

THE BATTLE BECAME A PURSUIT. THE OBJECTIVE NOW WAS TO

PREVENT AS MANY ENEMY AS POSSIBLE FROM ESCAPING. THE SIX CORPS

REACHED THE RHINE NEAR NEUSS ON 2 MARCH WHILE THE XIII CORPS

ENTERED KREFELD; EARLY THE NEXT DAY THE CORPS MADE CONTACT

WITH THE CANADIAN FIRST ARMY AT GELDERN. CONSTANTLY

HARASSED BY THE FIGHTER-BOMBERS OF THE NINTH AIR FORCE, THE

ENEMY WITHDREW, DEMOLISHING THE BRIDGES AS HE RETREATED

ACROSS THE RIVER. BY 6 MARCH RHEINBERG, THE FUTURE CROSSING

SITE FOR THE NINTH ARMY, HAD BEEN TAKEN FOUR DAYS LATER THE

WEST BANK OF THE RHINE FROM DUSSELDORF NORTHWARD WAS IN

ALLIED HANDS.

 

Below the maps are insignia of the principal major units which participated in these operations. These maps were designed by Lewis York of New Haven, Conn., from data prepared by the American Battle Monuments Commission, and were executed by the Dura Company of Heerlen, Holland. The enamel bronze appliques were fabricated by the Morris Singer Company of London.

On the esterior east wall of the museum are mounted the two series of key maps “The War Against Germany” and “The War Against Japan.”

 

COURT OF HONOR

 

Extending from the steps to the tower is the Court of Ho nor with its reflecting pool.

Engraved on the north and south walls of the Court are the names, rank, organization and

the State of 1,723 of our Missing of the Army and Army Air Forces. * These men gave their lives in the service of their Country in this region, but their remains have not been recovered or identified. Their names include men from every State of the Union (except Alaska) and the District of Columbia.

Over these names in the north wall, with a Dutch translation in the south wall, is

carved:

 

HERE ARE RECORDED THE NAMES OF

AMERICANS WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES

IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY AND

WHO SLEEP IN UNKNOWN GRAVES

 

Toward the east ends of the walls are these inscriptions also:

 

NORTH WALL:

 

TO YOU FROM FAILING HANDS WE THROW THE TORCH –

BE YOURS TO HOLD IT HIGH

(from John McCrae’s “In Flanders Fields”).

 

SOUTH WALL:

 

HONOR IS THEIRS WHO KNEW

THE PATH OF HONOR.

 

Without confirmed information to the contrary, a War Department Administrative Review Board established the official date of death of those commemorated on the Tablets to the Missing as one year and a day from the date on which the individual was placed in Missing in action status.

The trees planted in lawns before the Walls of the Missing are Japanese Cherries (Prunus serrulata Sekiyama).

 

THE TOWER AND CHAPEL

 

The bronze group standing before the tower at the East End of the Court of Honor was designed by Joseph Kiselewski, of New York City and cast in Milan by the Battaglia foundries. The mourning figure, the doves, the new shoot from the wardestroyed tree are appositely described by the inscription on the stone base:

 

NEW LIFE FROM WAR’S DESTRUCTION PROCLAIMS

MAN’S IMMORTALITY AND HOPE FOR PEACE

 

The west face of the tower bears this inscription from a free translation of Pericles’ oration as recorded by Thucydides:

 

EACH FOR HIS OWN MEMORIAL

EARNED PRAISE THAT WILL NEVER DIE

AND WITH IT

THE GRANDEST OF ALL SEPULCHRES

NOT THAT IN WHICH

HIS MORTAL BONES ARE LAID

BUT A HOME

IN THE MINDS OF MEN

 

The tower rises 101 ft. above the Court of Honor. Its exterior walls, like those of the Court of Honor and the entrance pavilions, are built of English Portland stone. On the walls flanking it to the left and right are the names of significant battles fought by the soldiers and airmen commemorated:

 

MAASTRICHT * EINDHOVEN * GRAVE * NIJMEGEN * ARNHEM * JULICH *

LINNICH * GEILENKIRCHEN * KREFELD * VENLO * RHEINBERG * COLOGNE

* WESEL * RUHR

 

On the north side of the tower is the observation platform which affords a wide panorama view of the graves area and surrounding countryside.

The entrance to the chapel, reached after mounting a few steps, is on the east, the burial areaside, of the tower. The doors are of bronze fabricated by H. H. Martyn of Cheltenham, English, and bear in outline a Tree of Life. Above them is engraved:

 

IN MEMORY OF THE VALOR AND THE SACRIFICES

WHICH HALLOW THIS SOIL

 

The interior of the chapel is 52 feet high. Suspended from the ceiling is the handsome lighting fixture presented by the Dutch people and consisting of a royal crown surrounded by tiny lights recalling the firmament above.

A silver altar vase and wrought iron candelabrum were also gifts of the Dutch people. The vase bears the inscription:

 

PRO MUNDI LIBERTATE MORTUIS

(To those who died for a free world)

 

The altar, itself of oak, bears the inscription:

 

HONOR * FAITH * VALOR

 

Mounted on the south wall of the chapel are three U.S. National flags, a Christian Chapel flag and a Jewish Chapel flag.

Following are the inscriptions in the interior of the memorial:

 

EAST WALL:

1941-1945

*

 

IN PROUD REMEMBRANCE OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF HER SONS

AND IN HUMBLE TRIBUTE TO THEIR SACRIFICES

THIS MEMORIAL HAS BEEN ERECTED BY

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

 

NORTH WALL:

 

O GOD WHO ART THE AUTHOR OF PEACE AND LOVER OF CONCORD

DEFEN US THY HUMBLE SERVANT IN ALL ASSAULTS OF OUR ENEMIES

THAT WE SURELY TRUSTING IN THY DEFENSE

MAY NOT FEAR THE POWER OF ANY ADVERSARIES

(Peace Prayer from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.)

 

SOUTH WALL:

 

O LORD SUPPORT US ALL THE DAY LONG

UNTIL THE SHADOWS LENGTHEN AND THE EVENING COMES

AND THE FEVER OF LIFE IS OVER AND OUR WORKS IS DONE

THEN IN THY MERCY GRANT US A SAFE LODGING, A HOLY REST

AND PEACE AT THE LAST

(From the “Works of Cardinal Newman.”)

 

Atop the Tower is a carillon which was presented to the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial by the American Veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam (AMVETS) in conjunction with the Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation and dedicated as a memorial to those U.S. War Dead who made the supreme sacrifice in the cause of freedom.

 

GRAVES AREA

 

The burial area is divided into 16 plots, lettered from A to P, separated by the broad central mall and by grass paths. The 8,301 headstones are arranged in parallel arcs sweeping across the broad green lawn.

Of the 8,308 Dead who gave their lives in their Country’s service, from every State in the Union, The District of Columbia, England, Canada and Mexico, 106 are Unknowns. In no less than 40 instances two brothers lie buried side by side, while one headstone marks the common grave of two Unknowns. At the top of the hill, on the axis of the mall, is the flagstaff.

 

VISITORS’ BUILDING

 

The Visitors’ Building id located on the south side of the Court of Honor. Within it is a comfortably furnished lounge where visitors may obtain burial locations or other information from the cemetery staff or simply pause to relax and refresh themselves.

 

PLANTINGS

 

Characteristically American tulip poplars (Liriodendrom Tulipifera) line the central mall.

Prominent are beds of rhododendron which produce their wealth of blossom just before

Memorial Day each year. Among the other plants at the cemetery are the hawthorn hedges (crataegus oxycantha), as well as the forested areas of various species of oak,

maple and hawthorn.

The curved beds north and south of the memorial are filled with Polyantha Roses framed within a copying of dwarf box and backed with a holly hedge.

 

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