Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, which covers fifty-seven acres, is located in Homburg, Belgium. This cemetery is the final resting place for 7,992 American WWII soldiers from forty-eight states, from the District of Columbia, and from Panama as well as England. There are thirty-three instances of two brothers buried next to one another in addition to one instance of three brothers resting side by side. There are also tombs of ninety-four unknown soldiers. These service members interred at Henri-Chapelle were killed during the Huertgen-Forest campaign, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Allied advance into Germany. Others perished in air operations over the region. Furthermore, the names of four hundred and fifty Missing in Action soldiers are also inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing colonnade area at the cemetery’s front entrance. American soldiers with the 1st Infantry Division liberated the region in early September 1944, and by the end of the month, a temporary cemetery had been established. By the end of the war, Henri-Chapelle was the largest temporary American cemetery in Europe with over 17,000 soldiers interred there. The repatriation program began in July of 1947, with more than half of the 17,000 soldiers being returned to America for burial. The completion of Henri-Chapelle as a permanent American cemetery occurred in 1960 and today is regulated by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
I am currently trying to obtain the stories and photos of the men interred at Henri-Chapelle along with each name listed on the Missing in Action tablets as a measure of gratitude as well as appreciation for their sacrifices. Additionally, I wish to collect the stories and photos in attempts to preserve and communicate them for future generations so the memory and identity of each name is not forgotten. Teachers from local schools bring their students to Henri-Chapelle on educational fieldtrips and walk amongst the markers, stopping at random graves to reflect on and to discuss who is interred there. Local residents also can adopt a soldier. These men have stories to share, voices to be heard, lives to be remembered, and sacrifices to be honored. In the words of Liz Allen, a nurse who served in the Vietnam War, “All those soldiers belong to somebody. They got moms, they got wives, they got kids. . . .They got somebody who loves them.”