Thursday, October 28, 2010

Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial

The Battle of the Ardennes, more commonly known as the Battle of the Bulge, was the bloodiest of the battles that American forces experienced in WWII. It was a major German offensive launched toward the end of the war through Luxembourg, Belgium and France from 16 December 1944 25 January 1945. The battle caused 80,987 American, 1,400 British and 84,834 German casualties.
The Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial sits on 204,000 m2 (50.5 acres) in Hamm. Under a 1951 US-Luxembourg treaty the US government was granted free use of the land in perpetuity without taxation. It is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
The cemetery contains the remains of 5,076 American service members who died serving our country. One of the graves belongs to a female army nurse and 101 graves contain the remains of unknown soldiers. There are 22 instances of two brothers resting side-by-side in adjacent graves.
Near the entrance is a white stone chapel. The chapel's mosaic ceiling depicts the Holy Spirit as a dove on a cloud held by four angels.
There are two fountains with bronze dolphins overlooking three pools on descending levels. The fountains represent resurrection and everlasting life.
Not far from the chapel is the grave of General George S. Patton Jr., commander of the Third U.S. Army. He was originally buried amongst the other graves but his grave was moved because the high number of visitors caused damaged to the grass around his and the other soldier's graves.

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