The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial
is located in Fort Bonifacio
Fort Bonifacio is a highly urbanized district in Taguig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. The district is named after the main Philippine Army camp in Metro Manila, Fort Andres Bonifacio, which in turn was named after the famous Philippine revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio...
, Taguig City
Taguig is a city in Metro Manila in the Philippines. From a thriving fishing community along the shores of Laguna de Bay, it is now an important residential, commercial and industrial center...
in Metro Manila
Metropolitan Manila , the National Capital Region , or simply Metro Manila, is the metropolitan region encompassing the City of Manila and its surrounding areas in the Philippines...
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...
The cemetery, 152 acre (0.61512272 km²) or 615,000 square metres in area, is located on a prominent plateau, visible at a distance from the east, south and west. With a total of 17,206 graves, it is the largest cemetery in the Pacific for U.S. personnel killed during World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...
, and also holds war dead from the Philippines and other allied nations. Many of the personnel whose remains are interred or represented were killed in New Guinea
New Guinea is the world's second largest island, after Greenland, covering a land area of 786,000 km2. Located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, it lies geographically to the east of the Malay Archipelago, with which it is sometimes included as part of a greater Indo-Australian Archipelago...
, or during the Battle of the Philippines (1941-42)
The Philippines Campaign or the Battle of the Philippines was the invasion of the Philippines by Japan in 1941–1942 and the defense of the islands by Filipino and United States forces....
or the Allied recapture of the islands. The headstones are made of marble which are aligned in eleven plots forming a generally circular pattern, set among masses of a wide variety of tropical trees and shrubbery.
The chapel, a tall stone structure enriched with sculpture and mosaic, stands near the center of the cemetery. In front of it on a wide terrace are two large hemicycles with rooms at each end. Twenty-five large mosaic maps in these four rooms recall the achievements of the United States Armed Forces
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...
in the Pacific, China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...
and Burma. On rectangular Trani limestone piers within the hemicycles are inscribed the names of 36,282 of the Missing who gave their lives in the service of America and who rest in unknown graves. Carved in the floors are the seals of the American states and its territories.
The Memorial is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission
The American Battle Monuments Commission is a small independent agency of the United States government. Established by Congress in 1923, it is responsible for:...
. It is the largest site administered by the Commission in the number of graves and of those Missing who names are recorded on the walls of the memorial.
The cemetery is open daily to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. except December 25 and January 1.
The entrance to the cemetery is at the far (north) side of the large grassed circle just beyond the military sentinel's post which is at the junction of the McKinley and Nichols Field Roads. Immediately beyond the gate is the plaza with its circular fountain; at the right is the Visitors' Building. Stretching from the plaza to the memorial is the central mall, which is lined with mahogany trees (Swietenia Macrophylla). Circular roads leading eastward and westward through the graves area join the straight roads along the edges of the mall. To the east of, and lower than, the graves area are the service area, deep wells and reservoirs. A purification system provides potable water within the cemetery.
The memorial is faced with Travertine
Travertine is a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine often has a fibrous or concentric appearance and exists in white, tan, and cream-colored varieties. It is formed by a process of rapid precipitation of calcium carbonate, often at the mouth of a hot...
limestone quarried near Tivoli, a few miles east of Rome, Italy. It consists of the tower containing the small devotional chapel, and the two extensive hemicycles to its front which embrace the Memorial court. The principal entrance to the memorial area is by the monumental staircase at the south end of the mall. At the top of these steps the Great Seal of the Commonwealth of the Philippines has been carved into the paving; this is the seal which was authorized for use during World War II and until the Republic had been established. To the right and left stretch the hemicycles;
on the end facade of each is the dedicatory inscription:
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
Each hemicycle contains 24 pairs of fin walls upon the four faces on which are inscribed the names and particulars of 36,285 of our Missing:
- United States Army and Army Air Forces - 16,915
- United States Navy - 17,587
- United States Marine Corps - 1,727
- United States Coast Guard - 58
During World War II the United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...
was part of the United States Army as the United States Army Air Forces
The United States Army Air Forces was the military aviation arm of the United States of America during and immediately after World War II, and the direct predecessor of the United States Air Force....
These gave their lives in the service of their Country in the regions from Australia northward to Japan, eastward to the Palau Islands and westward to China, Burma and India but their remains have not been identified, or they were lost or buried at sea. Their names include men from every State in the Union, also from the District of Columbia, Panama, Guam, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. At each end of each hemicycle is a map room. The memorial area offers many magnificent prospects over Manila toward Mount Arayat to the north, and over the Laguna de Bay toward Mount Makiling to the southeast and Tagaytay Ridge to the south. Without confirmed information to the contrary, a War Department Administrative Review Board established the official date of death of those commemorated on the Tablets of the Missing as one year and a day from the date on which the individuals was placed in Missing in action status.