The site of American headstones may not be what one expects to see in Europe, but the Lorraine American Cemetery & Memorial in St. Avold, France, is the resting place of the remains of 10,489 American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and civilians.
Each year ,Americans and Europeans alike come to visit the largest World War II cemetery in Europe. The cemetery is located 89 kilometers southwest of Ramstein. All are invited to honor America’s fallen heroes.
The ceremony has come to be known as the American Memorial Day, and each year brings people from as far as England.
“Last year’s Memorial Day ceremony was magnificent. We received about 2,000 people that day,” said Walter Benjamin, Lorraine American Cemetery & Memorial assistant superintendent. “It was a fitting tribute to our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and civilians.”
This year’s ceremony will be held 11 a.m. May 24 and will feature a platoon from the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as U.S. dignitaries from organizations including the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars and American Legion and French dignitaries from the Consul General in Strasbourg, France.
“Our expectation is to increase awareness to people all over the world, to encourage them to come and see these magnificent shrines for themselves and to bring their children to visit the men and women who have sacrificed everything they had so the world can live in freedom and peace,” said Mr. Benjamin.
The ceremony is scheduled to last about an hour and will be followed by a reception in St. Avold. In addition, the day’s activities will include a picnic. The ceremony and reception are free of charge; however, the picnic is €15 for adults and €10 for children.
For interested persons who cannot make the American Memorial Day ceremony, Lorraine American Cemetary & Memorial access is free of charge. The cemetary is open to the public 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, including weekends and holidays.
Guided tours in English are available without prior notice, but for tours in French and German, an appointment is required.
To get to the Lorraine American Cemetery & Memorial, take Autobahn A6 to Saarbrücken and then Autoroute A4 toward Metz/Paris.
For more information, call the cemetery at 0033-387-92-0732, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.abmc.gov.