I was surprised on a recent trip to learn that Meuse-Argonne is the largest American military cemetery in Europe. It is the second largest in the world; only the American military cemetery in Manila is larger.

Even with the late (albeit important) entrance by the United States into the field of battle, it stands as another measure of the incomprehensible waste of human life during World War I.

The plaque on site notes that 14,246 burials are listed at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery, with another 954 listed as “missing”. Overall, the graves in overseas WW I and WW II cemeteries represent 39 percent of those originally buried; 61 percent were returned home at the request of the next of kin.

(Note: The quote marks around “missing” are used on the plaque at the cemetery; they are not mine.)

If you wish to visit the Meuse-Argonne cemetery, you can visit at any time. The site never closes as it straddles the D-123 road near Romagne-sous-Montfaucon. I recommend visiting with the sunrise. Getting there at 07h00 will give you one hour by yourself before the garden crews swoop in to work.

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