Back to
Normandy American Cemetery Welcome Screen

The ABMC after World War II

U.S. military cemetery at Puerto Princessa, Palawan Island, Philippines, April 14, 1945. (National Archives)

World War II required the United States to once again construct centralized cemeteries overseas for Americans who sacrificed their lives in the war. Family members were given the option to have their loved one interred overseas, or returned to the states for burial.

Reburials at the Luxembourg American Cemetery in Hamm, Luxembourg, c. 1948-49.

Fourteen sites in foreign countries were selected as permanent cemeteries in 1947 by the Secretary of the Army, with the assistance of the American Battle Monuments Commission. In 1947, an American architect was selected to design each of the World War II cemeteries. The chosen architect was to conceive  grave plots, a chapel, and battle map exhibit as complementary elements in an integral memorial to the services and sacrifices of the American armed services who fought in the particular region. By the latter half of 1949 the permanent interments had been virtually completed. The cemeteries were progressively transferred to ABMC by Executive Order for construction and maintenance. The remaining portions of the architects' designs were carried out. ABMC has been tasked with maintaining the cemeteries ever since. 

Normandy American Cemetery, 1956.