Monday, June 13, 2011

Manila American Cemetery and Memorial

The cemetery grounds and Memorial.

Looking down the Memorial hallway at some of the panels that make up the "Wall of Missing".

This past Sunday (12 June), I visited the Manila American Cemetery, a 21-acre memorial site dedicated to the American soldiers & sailors who lost their lives fighting in the Pacific War Operations in 1941-45. The cemetery was dedicated in 1960, and contains over 17,000 grave markers; the memorial contains marble panels etched with 36,286 names of those soldiers "missing in action", including many Philippine fighters - soldiers whose remains were never found at battles throughout Asia & the Pacific. Inside the halls beautiful mosaic tile maps tell the visual & written history of the battles.
It's a quiet and peaceful site to visit; few visitors were there on a hot Sunday. As I walked through the green lawns of markers and the marble memorial I tried to comprehend the huge loss of lives caused by this war over 65 years ago. I felt emotional for the losses on all sides, not just of the Americans - such a tragic waste of human life due to war.
I sketched for several hours in the memorial hall and underneath the trees, surrounded by the markers. I thought of all these young men who "never came home", and I felt fortunate to be alive today and to record my impressions of this special place.

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