“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Monday, July 16, 2012

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

Today just after noon we arrived in Manila for our visit tomorrow to DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) .

One of the reasons to book a hotel for tonight was that I wanted to visit the Manila American WWII Cemetery and Memorial in Ayala, Metro Manila.

Although it was cloudy, we were lucky that the rain came only late afternoon.

The cemetery is situated in Ayala in Metro Manila in a slightly hilly area, which gives perfect views. It is the largest overseas American war cemetery in the world. As usual the design and architecture of the scene and the buildings is awesome beautiful. Similar as the one we visited 2 years ago in Normandy, see my blog of that visit here Normandy 6th June 1944.

See as well my brief photographic overview and if you do, then click on the SlideShow button upper left corner.

I recently read quite a lot about WWII in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, so I started to search for landmarks, and this cemetery is one of them. Another one is in Lingayen, see my previous blog post of the monument of the  WWII landings and assault in the Bay of Lingayen, under command of General Douglas MacArthur.

Note and off topic:
For Dutch people interested to read a good and detailed overview of the war in this region, I recommend to read Dr. L. de Jong's "Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, deel 11b, eerste helft, pagina's 1 t/m 139. This book and all others of this series, is now available on the Internet via het Nederlands Instituut voor Oorlogs Documentatie.

On topic again, I believe that the Americans are masters in honoring and remembering their war victims, hats off. The center of the cemetery area consists of the memorial building (chapel) in the middle, and the two half circle outbuildings.

The central memorial building acting as a chapel has some religious artifacts and a register for signing the guest book. The half circle buildings contain all the names of the victims, sorted on alphabet. At the two ends of each half circle are cubicle areas with mosaic maps, presenting maps with the major battles and all kind of data. Included is also a map depicting the WWII in Europe.
The following statistics are retrieved from the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), established in 1932 and responsible for creating and maintaining the war cemeteries and monuments, starting with WWI.

The cemetery in Manila area was donated by the Philippines to the ABMC and is free of taxes.

There are 17.097 headstones of which 3.740 are stones for unknowns. And in addition a total of 36.286 missing in action victims are memorized on the Tablets of the Missing. In total 53.383 victims.

If you ever visit the Philippines and have (emotional) ties to WWII you should visit this place.


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