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The Second World War had many countries becoming allies or enemies with one another. The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial was built to honor American troops who fought and died in European territory. It is located in Colleville-sur-Mer in France’s Normandy region.
See the fact file below for more information on the Normandy American Cemetery or alternatively, you can download our 19-page Normandy American Cemetery worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- A year prior to the end of World War II, the 607th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company of the U.S. First Army created a temporary cemetery on French territory. The present-day Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial was relocated after the war to a piece of land not too far away from the original site.
- The memorial was officially dedicated on July 19, 1956. In attendance were American Admiral Thomas Kinkaid and French General Jean Ganeval.
- The independent agency of the American Battle Monuments Commission manages the cemetery.
- France granted special concession to the land occupied by the cemetery, exempting it from any fees or tax. This is to pay honor to the troops who lost their lives during the war.
- The U.S. federal government supplies a yearly budget for its maintenance and personnel. The U.S. flag is raised and flown over the site.
- The cemetery occupies a small rounded cliff that overlooks the English Channel and Omaha Beach where troops landed during the Normandy Invasion. The memorial within the cemetery contains maps and features of the Normandy Invasion.
- At the center of the memorial stands a bronze statue by Donald De Lue titled “Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves”. There are also two different flagpoles in the cemetery where people gather to watch the flags being raised, lowered, and folded.
- The entire cemetery covers 172.5 acres of land and houses the bodies of 9,388 American military dead, including Army Air Corps and four American women.
- The burials across the cemetery field are marked by white marble headstones. 9,238 of these are Latin crosses for Protestants and Catholics, and 151 are stars of David for Jews.
- Housed in the cemetery are the graves of 147 African Americans and 20 Native Americans. Since the U.S. Army only recognized the three aforementioned religions, no other types of markers are present for those who held other belief systems.
- There are also notable burials in the cemetery, including that of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., and Quentin Roosevelt, sons of former U.S. President Roosevelt.
- Ten plots subdivide the cemetery, forming a Latin cross with the Memorial and Wall of the Missing at its base and the Chapel in the middle. Accidentally, the Cemetery faces the direction of the United States since it was built on lands parallel to the beach.
- The Memorial is built from medium-hard limestone sourced from the Burgundy region. It has a semi-circular colonnade and an exterior gallery that bears maps and stories of military operations.
- Engraved in the Memorial’s arches is the quote, “This embattled shore, portal of freedom, is forever hallowed by the ideals, the valor, and the sacrifices of our fellow countrymen.” On its base is written in both French and English, “In proud remembrance of the achievements of her sons and in humble tribute to their sacrifices this memorial has been erected by the United States of America.”
- Across the cemetery gardens are engraved the names of the 1,557 service members who were declared missing in action during the military operations in Normandy.
- The Chapel at the center of the cemetery is covered with stained glass bearing a Latin star, a star of David, and symbols for the alpha and omega to represent all other religions.
- On its ceiling is a mosaic by Leon Kroll that was completed in 1953. The work depicts Marianne, the national personification of France, and Columbia, the personification of the United States’ goddess of liberty.
- There is also a time capsule embedded in the cemetery lawn. It contains news reports on the Normandy landings of June 6, 1944. It was placed in the cemetery on June 6, 1969, and is set to be opened on June 6, 2044.
- Throughout the cemetery land stands various hardwood trees, including Holly and Turkey Oaks, Black Pines, Sycamore Trees, and many others.
THE CEMETERY IN POPULAR CULTURE
- In the film, Saving Private Ryan, starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon and directed by Steven Spielberg, the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial was featured at the beginning and end. The film was based on the true story of the four Niland brothers who fought in Normandy during World War II.
Normandy American Cemetery Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Normandy American Cemetery across 19 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Normandy American Cemetery worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Second World War which had many countries becoming allies or enemies with one another. The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial was built to honor American troops who fought and died in European territory. It is located in Colleville-sur-Mer in France’s Normandy region.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Normandy American Cemetery Facts
- That Cemetery in France
- Let’s Remember
- More Questions
- The D-Day Story
- Notable Interments
- Quotable Quote
- Cultural Significance
- Cemetery Comparison
- Letters to Comrade
- Featuring This Cemetery
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Link will appear as Normandy American Cemetery Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 1, 2020
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.