Ardennes (Belgium) American Cemetery – In Honor of our World War II Heroes

Not far from Liege, Belgium in the village of Neuville-en-Condrozis is the Ardennes American Cemetery, which is located on land liberated by Third Armored Division on September 7, 1944. The bodies of 5,328 Americans who died in Europe in WWII rest here, some from the Battle of Ardennes (also known as the “Battle of the Bulge”). Among the grave markers are 792 unknown soldiers, with the statement “Known Only to God” on each. The names of 462 Americans whose remains were not found are included on stone plaques around the base of the monument at the entrance to the cemetery.

The neat rows of over 5,000 grave markets in the Ardennes American Cemetery

I’ve read a little about the Battle of the Bulge, and know that it was a terribly bitter battle during the extremely cold winter of 1944. Many of the U.S. Army personnel in this battle were new recruits, who had to learn quickly how to fight and survive. This was Hitler’s last major offensive before his war machine began to collapse. Had Hitler succeeded, this world would be a very different place, I’m sure.

The monument at the Cemetery. It overlooks the actual graves, and around the base are the names of over 400 soldiers whose bodies were never recovered (you can also go inside the monument--see below).

Inside the Ardennes Cemetery monument. There are maps showing the Allied invasions, major battles, along with a short history. There is a small chapel in the monument also.

I had the privilege of visiting this cemetery recently during a business trip. It was sobering to view the thousands of grave markers of those who gave their lives in this great conflict. My own father served in the Navy in the Pacific Theater during WWII.  Tom Brokaw dubbed this generation “The Greatest Generation” and I agree with his observation. I honor those who have served and currently serve our country in the Armed Forces.

The cemetery was constructed by American Battle Monuments Commission, and is supervised by an U.S. superintendent. The cemetery is open at 9 am every day of the year.