AMERICAN BATTLE MONUMENTS COMMISSION

 

HENRI-CHAPELLE AMERICAN CEMETERY AND MEMORIAL

 

 

The World War II Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial is located two miles northwest of the village of Henri-Chapelle, Belgium, which is on the main highway from Liege (18 miles) to Aachen, Germany (10 miles).  Henri-Chapelle is four and a half miles northwest of the Welkenraedt Exit (seven miles from the German border) on the Aachen-Antwerp Autoroute.  Welkenraedt, the nearest railroad station with taxi service to the cemetery, may be reached by train from Paris (Gare du Nord), Brussels and Aachen.

 

At this cemetery, covering fifty-seven acres, rest 7,992 American military Dead, most of whom gave their lives during the advance of the American Armed Forces into Germany during World War II.  Their headstones are arranged in gentle arcs sweeping across a broad green lawn which slopes gently downhill.

 

A highway passes through the reservation.  West of the highway an overlook affords an excellent view of the rolling countryside, once a battlefield. To the east is a long colonnade, which with a chapel and museum at either end, overlooks the burial area.  The chapel is simple but richly ornamented.  Two maps of military operations, carved in black granite with inscriptions recalling the achievements of the American Armed Forces, are in the museum.  The cemetery possesses great military historic significance as it accommodates the fallen Americans of two major efforts - one covering the U.S. First Army's drive in September 1944 through northern France, Belgium, Holland, and Luxembourg into Germany - and the second covering the Battle of the Bulge.

 

On the rectangular piers of the colonnade are inscribed the names of 450 Americans who gave their lives in the service of their country but whose remains were never recovered or identified.  The seals of the states and territories are also carved on these piers.

 

It was from the temporary cemetery at Henri-Chapelle that the first shipment of remains of American War Dead were returned to the U.S. for permanent burial.  The repatriation program began on July 27, 1947 at a special ceremony at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery when the disinterment began.  The first shipment of 5,600 American Dead from Henri-Chapelle left Antwerp, Belgium the first week of October 1947. An impressive ceremony was held with over 30,000 reverent Belgium citizens attending and representatives of the Belgium government and senior Americans presiding.

 

The 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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