3300 miles east of Washington, DC the N3 traces the contours of the Wallonian countryside connecting the cities of Liege, Belgium and Aachen, Germany. More cows line the roadside than houses, aircraft do not fly overhead and it is hard to contemplate that the hills surrounding this quiet two-lane road hosted one of the most massive military engagements in modern warfare. 18 miles east of Liege lie 7,992 monuments are solemn reminders of this confrontation.
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial is the largest of the three military cemeteries in Belgium, the other two being Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial (WWI) and Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial (WWII). Most of the soldiers buried at Henri Chapelle were killed during the Battle of the Hurtgen Forest when the Allies advanced into Germany; some died in Operation Market Garden; and others, like my great-uncle died in the Battle of the Bulge. The cemetery hosts the remains of three Medal of Honor recipients including Brigadier General Frederick Castle.
It is appropriate that a stretch of highway bi-sects the 57-acre memorial as it will serve as a continuous reminder of the sacrifice made by the United States for the liberation of their country.
This footprint 3300 miles east of Washington is a special place to commemorate those who have died serving our country. Senior representatives of the American diplomatic corps, military community and distinguished representatives from the local population celebrate the service of our fallen soldiers. The event is open to the public and the American embassy and village of Henri-Chapelle encourage all to attend. It is organized by the American Overseas Memorial Day Association of Belgium.
The program reflects a desire to commemorate the 345,000 Americans who died in the European Theater in WWI and WWII, the declining population of veterans from these wars, and ensure that this tradition is continued by succeeding generations Belgians and Americans.
The memorial service begins at 4:00pm on 28, May 2011, with a formal opening of ceremonies by the Sergeant at Arms and is followed by a formal recognition of the living veterans (both American and Allies) and people who have adopted graves; next of kin are also remembered to as every year there are fewer surviving veterans. This phase of the program is concluded by a fly-over performed by American fighter planes based a Spangdahlem Air Force Base.
A General Officer of the American military forces based in Europe, the mayor of Henri-Chapelle, the U.S. ambassador, and elementary school children from Henri-Chapelle each perform a tribute. The US ambassador follows by participating in a ceremonial laying of wreaths; he is accompanied by representatives from the U.S. military and local community. This phase of the program is concluded by the firing of volleys by the Belgian army and the playing of taps.
A religious leader concludes the event by delivering a benediction. The national anthems of the United States and Kingdom of Belgium are then played.
Key Information: Date and Time: 26 May 2012. Service begins at 4:00pm Driving Directions: 3 kilometers (2 miles) northwest of the village of Henri-Chapelle, which is just off of the E-40 motor route from Li¨ge to Aachen. It is about 29 kilometers (18 miles) from Li¨ge and about 16 kilometers (10 miles) from Aachen.
GPS Coordinates: N50 41.803 E5 53.932
Links: American Overseas Memorial Day Association Belgium http://www.aomda.org/index.php?lang=en&pid=3¢… ‘
American Battle Monuments Commission, Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/hc.php