Concept

American Battle Monuments Commission

Summary
The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) is an independent agency of the United States government that administers, operates, and maintains permanent U.S. military cemeteries, memorials and monuments primarily outside the United States. As of 2018, there were 26 cemeteries and 29 memorials, monuments and markers under the care of the ABMC. There are more than 140,000 U.S. servicemen and servicewomen interred at the cemeteries, and more than 94,000 missing in action, or lost or buried at sea are memorialized on cemetery Walls of the Missing and on three memorials in the United States. The ABMC also maintains an online database of names associated with each site. The ABMC was established by the United States Congress in 1923. Its purpose is to: Commemorate the services of the U.S. armed forces where they have served since April 6, 1917; Establish suitable War memorials; designing, constructing, operating, and maintaining permanent U.S. military burial grounds in foreign countries; Control the design and construction of U.S. military monuments and markers in foreign countries by other U.S. citizens and organizations, both public and private; Encourage the maintenance of such monuments and markers by their sponsors. The United States Department of War established eight European burial grounds for World War I. The ABMC's first program was landscaping and erecting non-sectarian chapels at each of the eight sites, constructing 11 separate monuments and two tablets at other sites in Europe, and constructing the Allied Expeditionary Forces World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C. For those buried who could not be identified during World War I, a percentage were commemorated by Star of David markers, rather than a cross; this practice was not continued for those who could not be identified during World War II. In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order transferring control of the eight cemeteries to the ABMC, and made the commission responsible for the design, construction, maintenance and operation of all future permanent American military burial grounds outside the United States.
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