The Netherlands American Cemetery
The Netherlands American Cemetery & Memorial in Margraten is the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands. Most of the 8,301 war dead here died late in 1944 & in 1945, in the airborne & ground operations in Eastern Netherlands, during the advances into Germany over the Ruhr river, across the Rhine river, and in air operations over these regions. Because no American soldiers were to be permanently interred in enemy soil, those killed in Germany were laid to rest at Margraten or Henri-Chapelle. When the last soldier was buried in 1946, the Margraten cemetery had become the largest American military cemetery in Europe. Initially, there were 17,742 American & 1,026 other Allied soldiers interred, as well as 3,075 Germans, the latter buried in a separate section of the cemetery. The bodies of the other Allied & German troops were soon transferred to other cemeteries, and in the late 1940s over half the American dead were repatriated to the US; the remaining ones, including forty sets of brothers, were reburied at Margraten.
In the 1950s, the cemetery was expanded according to a design by architect Henry R. Shepley from the Boston firm Shepley, Bulfinch, Richardson & Abbott, and Michael Rapuano, a landscape architect at Clarke, Rapuano & Holleran in New York. Today, the cemetery looks pretty much the same as when it was dedicated in 1960. At the base of the memorial tower in the Court of Honour, facing the reflecting pool, is the statue Peace by sculptor Joseph Kiselewski, representing a mother grieving her lost son. Stretching along the two sides of the court are the Walls of the Missing on which 1,722 names are recorded; small rosettes mark the names of those since recovered & identified. Beyond the tower is the burial area, which is divided into sixteen plots with headstones set in long curved rows. A visit to a war cemetery can easily become overwhelming; the small but impressive chapel in the memorial tower provides an excellent place for reflection & contemplation, and for setting your mind to peace.abmc.gov