|The World War I Somme American Cemetery and Memorial in France is sited on a gentle slope typical of the open, rolling Picardy countryside. The 14.3-acre cemetery contains the graves of 1,844 of our military dead. Most lost their lives while serving in American units attached to British armies, or in operations near Cantigny. The headstones, set in regular rows, are separated into four plots by paths that intersect at the flagpole near the top of the slope. The longer axis leads to the chapel at the eastern end of the cemetery. |
A massive bronze door surmounted by an American eagle leads into the chapel, whose outer walls contain sculptured pieces of military equipment. Once inside, light from a cross-shaped crystal window above the marble altar bathes the subdued interior with light. The walls bear the names of 333 of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.
The cemetery is open daily to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except December 25 and January 1. It is open on host country holidays. When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the Visitor Building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites.