At the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium, covering 57 acres,
rest 7,992 of US military dead, most of whom lost their lives during the advance
of the U.S. armed forces into Germany. Their headstones are arranged in gentle arcs
sweeping across a broad green lawn that slopes gently downhill. A highway passes
through the reservation. West of the highway an overlook affords an excellent view
of the rolling Belgian countryside, once a battlefield.
To the east is the long colonnade that, with the chapel and map room, forms the memorial
overlooking the burial area. The chapel is simple but richly ornamented. In the map
room are two maps of military operations, carved in black granite, with inscriptions
recalling the achievements of our forces. On the rectangular piers of the colonnade
are inscribed the names of 450 missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered
and identified. The seals of the states and territories are also carved on these
The cemetery possesses great military historic significance as it holds fallen Americans
of two major efforts, one covering the U.S. First Army's drive in September 1944
through northern France, Belgium, Holland and Luxembourg into Germany, the second
covering the Battle of the Bulge.
It was from the temporary cemetery at Henri-Chapelle that the first shipments of
remains of American war dead were returned to the U.S. for permanent burial.
Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery lies 2 miles northwest of the village of Henri-Chapelle,
which is 4½ miles northwest of the Welkenraedt exit (7 miles from the German border)
on the Aachen-Antwerp autoroute. Welkenraedt, the nearest train station to the cemetery,
may be reached by train from Paris (Gare du Nord), Brussels and Aachen
The repatriation program began on July 27, 1947 at a special ceremony at the cemetery
when the disinterment began. The first shipment of 5,600 American war dead from Henri-Chapelle
left Antwerp, Belgium the first week of October 1947. An impressive ceremony was
held, with over 30,000 Belgium citizens attending along with representatives of the
Belgium government and senior Americans.