Well Worth Visiting – The Ten Most Interesting Military And Wartime Cemeteries in the World

 
The Lincoln Address Memorial (top left) in the Gettysburg National Cemetery. The 2 small flanking markers for the 3rd NY Artillery monument (foreground) indicate the breadth of the unit's position. Sallicio - CC BY-SA 3.0
 
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For a slightly spooky visit, with a healthy dose of history, check out one of these top most impressive military cemeteries in the world.

Each offers something new to learn while being simultaneously sobering and a reminder of the horrors of war.

Luxembourg American Cemetery

Here lies the final resting place of more than 5,000 U.S. soldiers. Many are the deceased from the Battle of the Bulge, in 1944. About 600,000 Americans in total fought in the battle with about 80,000 killed, wounded or captured.

The most famous among them is General George S. Patton, who led the Third Army and was primarily responsible for winning against the Germans.

He was buried at the very front of the cemetery and his grave faces the others, as he looks out at the troops.

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific

The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is located inside a volcanic crater, called the Punchbowl.
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is located inside a volcanic crater, called the Punchbowl.

Sometimes called Punchbowl for its spot inside a volcanic crater, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific is the final resting place for 53,000 veterans and their eligible family members.

In addition to soldiers who died in World War II, are those who perished in the Pearl Harbor attacks.

Visiting guests can enjoy free walking tours, as well as panoramic views of Honolulu.

Bayeux British Cemetery

The Bayeux War Cemetery in France is the largest World War II British military cemetery in the country. Photo Source.
The Bayeux War Cemetery in France is the largest World War II British military cemetery in the country. K72ndst – CC BY 3.0

The largest British cemetery in France is The Bayeux War Cemetery dedicated to those who died in World War II. Specifically, it is home to soldiers who died during the Normandy Invasion on D-Day.

Unlike many military cemeteries, this one is much more than a row of indistinguishable headstones.

Each features a short, personal saying or quote from a family member or loved one. The cemetery’s memorial includes Latin script alluding to French William the Conqueror’s conquests in England.

Quite bitterly poking at the French, it says that England, once conquered, has now freed the conqueror’s own homeland.

La Cambe German Cemetery

The German Military Cemetery near Normandy.
The German military cemetery near Normandy.

Very similarly, but also incredibly different, the La Cambe German Cemetery is near The Bayeux British cemetery and is the burial place for the German deceased. Not unexpectedly, many European countries were not quite happy to give burial land to their Nazi oppressors.

Each tombstone is dedicated to two soldiers and, unlike the nearby British cemetery, does not provide them with any sort of individualization.

However, the cemetery does make note that the deceased should still receive visitors’ respect, as a quote on an included sculpture gently reminds us that not every soldier chose the fight or the cause.

Gettysburg National Cemetery

The Gettysburg National Cemetery is one of the most well known Civil War cemeteries, and one of the most haunted.
The Gettysburg National Cemetery is one of the most well-known Civil War cemeteries, and one of the most haunted.

Gettysburg is quite easily the most recognizable place name to come out of the United States Civil War. More than 3,500 Union soldiers are buried there.

There are also quite a few monuments to both Confederate and Union troops. In addition to being a very educational and interesting place to visit, Gettysburg is considered to be one of the most haunted war history spots in America.

A great place to visit during the Halloween season.

Don-Rak Cemetery

The Don Rak Cemetery in Thailand is also sometimes called the Kanchanaburi Cemetery.
The Don-Rak Cemetery in Thailand is also sometimes called the Kanchanaburi Cemetery. Rdsmith4 – CC BY-SA 2.5

Far away in Thailand, the Don-Rak Cemetery is home to nearly 7,000 World War II prisoners of war, including those from Great Britain, the Netherlands and Australia.

Most were victims of a Japanese railroad project, during which prisoners were forced to work under horrifying conditions, with most starving to death or dying from jungle-related diseases.

During the operation, the prisoners were allowed to bury their own dead. Then after the war was over, many of the bodies were retrieved and given a more suitable formal resting place.

Arlington National Cemetery

The Arlington National Cemetery is located right near Washington, D.C.
The Arlington National Cemetery is located near Washington, D.C.

Possibly the most well-known cemetery in the United States, Arlington is not only home to a wide array of soldiers, but also several other notable figures.

Visitors can see the Tomb of the Unknowns, the eternal flame at the tomb of John F. Kennedy and the historic home of Robert E. Lee. The cemetery and its more than 300,000 graves overlook Washington, D.C.

Also featured is a memorial given by the country of Scotland, after the Pan Am Flight 103 terrorist bombing, which killed 270 people.

Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery

Fort Rosecrans Cemetery in San Diego, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Fort Rosecrans Cemetery in San Diego, overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Quite similar to Arlington but not quite as well known, Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery is located in San Diego. The matching white headstones overlook San Diego Bay, making a beautiful landscape.

There are 112,000 deceased buried on the land, from military conflicts going back as far as the 19th century.

Recently, the last burial plot was taken so there will no longer be individuals buried at the cemetery.

Andersonville National Cemetery

Andersonville National Cemetery in Georgia, site of the Confederate POW Camp during the U.S. Civil War. Photo Source.
Andersonville National Cemetery in Georgia, site of the Confederate POW Camp during the U.S. Civil War. Bubba73 (talk) – CC BY-SA 3.0

Another U.S. Civil War burial ground, Andersonville National Cemetery is home to the victims of the Andersonville prisoner of war camp created by the Confederate army.

There are more than 12,000 buried all having died at the camp. The first burial took place only three days after the camp opened in 1864. Since then, about 7,000 new graves have been constructed.

The cemetery is only a short walk (about 300 yards) from the actual Andersonville Historic Site and is a little over 27 acres in size.

Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial

Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, World War I. Photo Source.
Oise-Aisne American Cemetery, World War I. Zeugma fr – CC BY-SA 3.0

While not as famous as its World War II counterparts, the Oise-Aisne American Cemetery was created in World War I in France.

There are about 6,000 buried and, at the time of its construction, was hoped to be the last American cemetery to appear on foreign soil. Unfortunately, as we now know, this was not the case at all.

There is also a Wall of the Missing, with 241 names, some of which are marked with a rosette, meaning they have been found or located since.