American War Dead Buried Overseas
AMERICAN WAR DEAD BURIED OVERSEAS
(Please be aware this post was written in 2004 and published at that time in the Houston Chronicle (Houston, Texas) newspaper. Some of the news in this post, therefore, may not be current. Current and future posts on this blog may revisit and update news on this and other posts on this blog. If you have questions and/or suggestions, please send Mic a note using the comment page -Don’t forget to use the orange “subscribe” button to receive new posts-Thanks, Mic)
In 1923 Congress established the American Battle Monuments Commission. The commission administers, operates and maintains twenty four permanent American burial grounds and twenty seven separate memorials, monuments and markers on foreign soil as well as six memorials in the United States.
Currently there are 124,913 American War Dead interred in ABMC cemeteries including 30,921 from World War I, 93,242 from World War II and 750 from the Mexican War. In addition there are 6,010 American veterans and other personnel interred at the Mexico City National Cemetery and the Corozal American Cemetery in Panama.
Initially WWI and WWII military war casualties who died in foreign theaters were buried on foreign soil. After the war the United States offered the veteran’s next of kin the choice or letting their loved one remain interred in their initial gravesite or be repatriated to a national or private cemetery in the United States.
There are 11 ABMC cemeteries located in France, 3 in Belgium, 2 in England, 1 in Panama, 1 in Mexico City, 1 in Luxembourg, 1 in the Philippines, 1 in the Netherlands, 1 in Tunisia and 2 in Italy. Each of these cemeteries have been granted in perpetuity to the United States by the host country free of charge and taxation. Nearly all of these cemeteries are closed to burials except for remains of American War dead found from time to time in battle areas.
Each grave in ABMC cemeteries is marked by a pristine white marble headstone. Those of the Jewish faith have tapered shafts surmounted with a star of David while all others are marked with Latin crosses.
Graves of WWI unidentified soldiers contain the epitaph HERE REST IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD. Because of the number of allied countries fighting along side one another graves of unidentified WWII soldiers contain the epitaph: HERE REST IN HONORED GLORY A COMRADE IN ARMS KNOWN BUT TO GOD.
CASUALTY DATABASES IN ABMC WEBSITE
The ABMC website at http://www.abmc.gov/abmc4.htm contains links to several searchable American war databases. One database lists the names of 30,921 WWI soldiers interred in ABMC cemeteries plus 4,452 WWI veterans commemorated on cemetery tablets as missing in action, lost or buried at sea. A different database on the same website lists the names of 172,218 WWII veterans buried overseas in ABMC cemeteries but does not list the names of 233,181 Americans whose remains were repatriated to the United States after the war.
Other lists or databases on the same website contain the names of veterans of the Mexican War and Civil War buried in ABMC cemeteries. These cemeteries are mainly in Mexico City and Panama. There is also a link to the Korean War Casualties database maintained at the Korean War Memorial in Washington, DC. While a casualty list exists for the Viet Nam War, there is no link to it from the ABMC website.
According to Department of Defense records there were 54,246 military who died during the Korean conflict. However, due to a fire at the Military Personnel Records Branch in St Louis in 1972 the names of only 38,424 are known and are included on the Korean War Casualty database.
FAMILY HISTORY FAIR IN HUNTSVILLE
The Walker County Genealogical Society will host their 4th Annual Texas Genealogy & Family History Fair Saturday June 26. The fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the main building of the Walker County Fairgrounds four miles west of Huntsville on Highway 30 (exit 116 on Interstate 45 North).
Admission to the fair is $8 and includes genealogical lectures by speakers Marjie Harris, Johnnie Jo Dickerson, Judy Hunter and Sue Smith. Exhibitors include genealogical vendors, libraries, genealogical, historical and patriotic societies from across Southeast Texas.
To register online, become an exhibitor or learn more about the fair visit the Walker County Genealogical website at http://www.wcgen.com/ or call 936-594-2908.