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Some things to think about on Memorial Day

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) National Cemetery Administration maintains 124 national cemeteries in 39 states and Puerto Rico. The Department of the Interior operates 14 National Park Cemeteries, and there are 88 military cemeteries operated by the states. The American Battle Monuments Commission Cemeteries oversees 24 cemeteries and 25 monuments outside of the United States, where Americans are buried or died. The U.S. Army administers two cemeteries, U.S. Soldiers’ & Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, DC, and Arlington National Cemetery, the most heavily visited military cemetery in the country with almost four million visitors a year. Here are some others.

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, Honolulu, Hawaii

Built in 1948, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is located in the Pu’owaina Crater (Punchbowl). In ancient times this crater was known as the “Hill of Sacrifice.” Today the cemetery is a memorial to the sacrifice made by the men and women in the United States Armed Services. Dedicated on September 2, 1949, 776 casualties from the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor were among the first to be buried here.

The Honolulu Memorial was erected by the American Battle Monuments Commission in 1964 and dedicated in 1966. It was erected to honor sacrifices and achievement of American Armed Forces in the Pacific during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, England

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial, England

The Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial site in England
, 30.5 acres in total, was donated by the University of Cambridge. It lies on a slope with the west and south sides framed by woodland. The cemetery contains the remains of 3,812 of our military dead; 5,127 names are recorded on the Tablets of the Missing.

Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. Most died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in the strategic air bombardment of northwest Europe.

Pointe Du Hoc Ranger Monument, France

Pointe Du Hoc Ranger Monument, France

The World War II Pointe du Hoc Ranger Monument is located on a cliff eight miles west of Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial, which overlooks Omaha Beach. It was erected by the French to honor elements of the American Second Ranger Battalion under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James E. Rudder.

During the American assault of Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, these elements scaled the 100-foot cliff and seized the German artillery pieces that could have fired on the American landing troops at Omaha Beach. At a high cost of life, they successfully defended against determined German counterattacks.

The monument consists of a simple granite pylon positioned atop a German concrete bunker with tablets at its base inscribed in French and English. The monument was formally transferred to the American Battle Monuments Commission for perpetual care and maintenance on January 11, 1979. This battle-scarred area on the left flank of Omaha Beach remains much as the Rangers left it.

Fort Sam Houston Memorial Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas

Fort Sam Houston Memorial Cemetery, San Antonio, Texas

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery was opened as the post cemetery in 1924, and designated as an official national cemetery in 1937. Among those buried are nine Medal of Honor recipients, 27 Buffalo Soldiers, 140 World War II prisoners of war and other dignitaries. Each year about 30,000 people visit, including the 9,000 who come for Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans Day ceremonies to honor servicemen and women. Fort Sam Houston dates back to 1870 and is one of the oldest and largest active posts in the country.

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