Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Historic Images of the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery

I recently received a wealth of wonderful information and imagery from the staff of the American Battle Monuments Commission. I'll be sharing it with our readers throughout the Centennial.  These images tell a story by themselves. I've just included some text and captions as needed.

From the ABMC Website:
Within the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France, which covers 130.5 acres, rest the largest number of our military dead in Europe, a total of 14,246. It is located just east of the village of Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, Meuse, France, approximately 26 miles (42 kilometers) northwest of Verdun.  Most of those buried here lost their lives during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I. The immense array of headstones rises in long regular rows upward beyond a wide central pool to the chapel that crowns the ridge. A beautiful bronze screen separates the chapel foyer from the interior, which is decorated with stained-glass windows portraying American unit insignia; behind the altar are flags of the principal Allied nations. The cemetery required almost two decades to complete.  It was dedicated on Memorial Day, 1937.

Click on Images to Enlarge

Remains of the Fallen Were Gathered from Field Cemeteries

En Route to Romagne

A Ceremony Was Conducted When the Original Coffins Arrived for Interment

General Pershing Inspects the Cemetery in the 1920s

The Completed Temporary Cemetery Which Held 23,000 Burials

An Exhumation from a Temporary Grave
Families Could Choose to Have the Fallen Return Home for Burial
The Temporary Burials Were Also Exhumed for Preparation for Final Burial 

The Final Design with Over 14,000 Burials Took Almost 20 Years to Evolve

Some of the Final Markers with Photos of the Interred Super-Imposed

General Pershing at the Formal Dedication, Memorial Day, 1937

World War II GIs Visiting the Cemetery

Today the Cemetery Is the Site of Frequent Remembrances

Display at the New Visitors Center

From the ABMC Website:
A renovated, 1,600-square-foot center visitor center reopened in November 2016. Through interpretive exhibits that incorporate personal stories, photographs, films, and interactive displays, visitors will gain a better understanding of the critical importance of the Meuse-Argonne Offensive as it fits into the Great War.

Watch the Video  Never to be Forgotten: Soldiers of the Meuse-Argonne and
Listen to General Pershing Here

Images selected from:  American Battle Monuments Commission Archives, Library of Congress, and the Film Never to be Forgotten: Soldiers of the Meuse-Argonne.


  1. I have been here several times, but powerful...many thanks

  2. I visited in 2014 while touring the Meuse-Argonne battlefields. It's a deeply impressive destination.

  3. Wonderful historic photos -- thanks for sharing. By any chance do you know where the field cemetery was in the second photo?

  4. Thank you so much Mike for this and all your other daily posts. These remarkable photos prepare me for my visit March 22 where I’ll honor the high number of war buddies my grandfather Walter A. Mabey saw fall. He NEVER could forget them. I pay tribute to the AEF, 1st Army Division, 18th Infantry, Company E. May God Rest Their Souls in this sacred cemetery. John Mabey