AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION

 

EPINAL AMERICAN CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL

 

 

The World War II Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial is located approximately four miles southeast of Epinal (Vosges), France on Road D-157 in the village of Dinoze-Quequement.  It can be reached by automobile via toll Autoroute A-4 eastward to the Nancy Exit.  Take Highway N-57 and exit at Arches-Dinoze.  Rail service is available from Gare de l'Est, Paris via Nancy, where it may be necessary to change trains.  The journey by train takes about five hours.  Air travel is available from Paris to the Epinal-Mirecourt Airport.  Travel by air takes forty-five minutes.  Adequate hotel accommodations and taxi service can be found in Epinal and vicinity.

 

The cemetery, forty-eight acres in extent, is located on a plateau one hundred feet above the Moselle River in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains.  It contains the graves of 5,255 American military Dead. It was established in October 1944 by the 46th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company of the U.S. Seventh Army as it drove northward from southern France through the Rhone Valley into Germany.   The cemetery became the repository for the fatalities in the bitter fighting through the Heasbourg Gap during the winter of 1944-45.

 

The memorial, a rectangular structure with two large bas-relief panels, consist of a chapel, portico and museum room with its mosaic operations map.  On the walls of the Court of Honor, which surround the memorial, are inscribed the names of 424 Americans who gave their lives in the service of their country and who rest in unknown graves.

 

Stretching northward is a wide tree-lined mall that separates two large burial plots.  At the northern end of the mall the circular flagpole plaza forms an overlook affording a view of a wide sweep of the Moselle valley.

 

On May 12, 1958, thirteen caskets draped with American flags were placed side by side at the memorial at Epinal American Cemetery. Each casket contained the remains of one World War II "Unknown" American serviceman; one from each of the thirteen permanent American military cemeteries in the European Theater of Operations.   In a solemn ceremony, General Edward J. O'Neill, Commanding General of the U.S. Army Communication Zone, Europe, selected the "Unknown" to represent the European Theater. It was flown to Naples, Italy and placed with "Unknowns" from the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters of Operation aboard the USS Blandy for transportation to Washington, D.C. for final selection of the "Unknown" from World War II.   On Memorial Day, 1958, this "Unknown" was buried alongside the "Unknown" from World War I at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

 

The Epinal cemetery is open daily to the public from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm except December 25 and January 1. It is open on host country holidays. When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the Visitors’ Building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites.

 

 

 

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