Where the tree fell, there we let it lie.
Through standing fir, Sylvans knoll slopes down
Toward Tryon Creek pooled deep in tangled shade.
Old Iron Mountain rusts in sinking sun,
And we agree again, aloud, afraid —
Small matter foreign soil or Holland sky
“The American Cemetery is situated along the State Highway Maastricht-Vaals in the Eijsden-Margraten Municipality in the Netherlands. It is one of the biggest cemeteries in the world the only one in The Netherlands. No less than 8,301 American liberators have been buried here. The white marble crosses and David’s stars remind us of the solders -often young- who gave their lives for our freedom during World War ll.”
The cemetery is approximately 26.5 hectares in size. The Dutch government has donated the land to the US on a perpetual loan with respect and gratitude. A total of 8,301 Americans are buried in the same number of graves. Two unknown soldiers are buried in one grave. A grave is empty. PFC Joseph Fletcher Hill's body was returned to America on April 28, 2001.
Eleven American soldiers are buried in the Netherlands outside Margraten: eight in Opijnen, one in Rading cemetery in Nieuw-Loosdrecht, one in the old Protestant cemetery in the center of Zoetermeer and a victim of the Vietnam War at Rusthof cemetery in Leusden.
The access road leads to the steps of the Place of Honor. In front of the tower and the memorial in bronze, a grieving mother, lies a pond in which the memorial is reflected. In the tower, over 30 meters high and visible from afar, there is a chapel and a carillon. The visitor center is on the right side of the square. On the left is a kind of museum chapel with three large maps, carved in travertine, with descriptions of the operations of the 1st American army in the region during World War II.
On the walls on either side of the Place of Honor, the Walls of the Missing, are the names of 1722 American missing persons who gave their lives. Names of missing persons who were later found and identified are provided with a rosette.
Behind the tower is the actual cemetery. This is divided into sixteen sections (A to P), which are separated by a promenade and grass paths. The fallen buried there are equal in death. Officers and soldiers are mixed up and the white crosses on the graves are identical. Only the six recipients of a Medal of Honor have a deviating cross, and the Jewish military have a memorial to the Star of David.
The promenade, flanked by trees, leads to a flagpole at the back of the cemetery.
The green grass clipped short and the use of bright white material (graves, the monument, stones) give it a neat and stately appearance.