American Cemetery Lorraine (Fr)
The cemetery site covers 113 ½ acres of rolling landscape on the west edge of the Saar mining region. Immediately to the north and east are natural stands of oak, pine and
other trees; these have been extended by a planted enframement around the northeast and south sides. A temporary American military cemetery was established on 16 March 1945 about one-half mile to the south of the present cemetery. The surrounding area was liberated by troops of the 80th Infantry Division on 27 November 1944. When the permanent cemetery was built, the present site was chosen because of its superior location, prospects and aspect. It is the largest American military cemetery of World War II in Europe. Buried here are 10,489 of our military Dead, representing 41 percent of the burials which were originally made in this region. Most of those interred here gave their lives during the advance to the Rhine and the advance across Germany in the spring of 1945. Construction of the cemetery and memorial was completed in 1960.
The architects for the cemetery and memorial were Murphy and Locraft of Washington, D.C. The landscape architect was Allyn R. Jennings of Oley, Pennsylvania.
The memorial, which consists of a tall rectangular tower and the Walls of the Missing extending to the north and south thereof, is normally approached from the rear (west)
side. This tower, 67 feet high, is of Euville limestone from the region of Commercy near the Meuse River some 70 miles to the southwest; its walls are carved with bold vertical
flutings. The dark stone of its base is Belgian “petit granit.” On the west facade is a sculptured rounded bearing the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States. High on
the tower are three superimposed angels of Victory each bearing a laurel wreath, designed by Walker Hancock of Gloucester, Massachusetts.
The entrance to the memorial building is at its east side through tall bronze doors. Above these doors, carved in Euville stone, is a tall (26 feet) figure of St, Avold
extending his blessing upon those who rest here or who are commemorated on the Walls of the Missing. “St. Avold” is another spelling of “St. Nabor,” a Roman Christian soldier who was martyred about A.D. 303 in the reign of the Emperor Maximian; above his head is an Archangel with trumpet.
On the far (west) wall opposite the door are five sculpture figures lighted from the north by a tall window. This group represents the eternal struggle for freedom, typified by the
youthful figure in the center; flanking him are typical religious and military heroes who, throughout history, have taken part in this struggle – King David, Emperor Constantine,
King Arthur, George Washington.
Above the doorway is a stand of two United States and two French national flags flanking a 13-star Betsy Ross flag.
On the left (south) wall is a large map in colored glazed ceramic portraying military operations in Western Europe from the landings in Normandy until the end of hostilities.
A smaller map inserted in its lower right-hand corner: “FROM THE MOSELLE TO THE RHINE” records the fighting in the region of St. Avold.
Extending to the north and south of the tower and facing the graves area are the Wall of the Missing upon which are inscribed the name, rank, organization and State of 444 men of the United States Army and Army Air Forces. (It will be recalled that during World War II the Air Forces formed part of the United States Army.) These gave their lives in the service of their country, but their remains have not been recovered or identified. Their names include men from 43 different States. At the end of the walls is this
inscription as well as a French translation:
HERE ARE RECORDED THE NAMES OF AMERICANS
WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES IN THE SERVICE OF THEIR COUNTRY
AND WHO SLEEP IN UNKNOWN GRAVES.
The graves area is reached by a broad flight of steps from the front of the Memorial. It consists of nine plots laid out about the axis in a symmetrical pattern, divided by
gracefully curved paths. The headstones are set in straight in each of the plots. These 10,489 Dead who gave their lives in our country’s service came from every
State in the Union, and the District of Columbia, as well as from Puerto Rico, Panama, Canada, the United Kingdom and Mexico. One hundred and fifty-one of the headstones mark the graves of “Unknowns.” Among the headstones are 26 instances in which two brothers lie side by side. Among the headstones, also, is one which marks the burial of three men whose names are known and who were buried together; a bronze tablet covers the grave and records their names.