We Are Not Coming Home


It Was Not Arrogance
by Bill Richer

We hit the beaches of Normandy
We parachuted in behind enemy lines
We fought in the trenches
We fought pass the tough hedge-rows
We flew the double wings in dogfights
We were poisoned by the gas
We flew the dangerous bomber missions
We fought the tough tank battles
Why would we lie here in arrogance
Because we all wanted to go home
We lie here with our last sacrifice
For the Red, White and Blue!




       The 42.5-acre Aisne-Marne Cemetery and Memorial in France, its headstones lying in a sweeping curve, sits at the foot of the hill where stands Belleau Wood. The cemetery contains the graves of 2,289 war dead, most of whom fought in the vicinity and in the Marne valley in the summer of 1918. The memorial chapel sits on a hillside, decorated with sculptured and stained-glass details of wartime personnel, equipment and insignia. Inscribed on its interior wall are 1,060 names of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. Belleau Wood adjoins the cemetery and contains many vestiges of World War I. A monument at the flagpole commemorates the valor of the U.S. Marines who captured much of this ground in 1918.



       The World War II Ardennes American Cemetery and Memorial is located near the southeast edge of Neupre (Neuville-en-Condroz), Belgium, twelve miles southwest of Liege. The main highway to Marche passes the cemetery entrance. Liege can be reached by express train from Paris (Gare du Nord) in about five and a half hours; from Brussels and from Germany via Aachen. Taxicabs and limited bus service to Neupre are available from Liege. There are several hotels in the city. The approach drive leads to the memorial, a rectangular structure bearing on its facade a massive American eagle and other symbolic sculptures. Within are the chapel, three large wall maps composed of inlaid marble, marble panels depicting combat and supply activities and other ornamental features. Along the outside of the memorial, inscribed on granite slabs, are the names of 462 American missing who gave their lives in the service of their country, but whose remains were never recovered or identified. The cemetery, 90 acres in extent, contains the graves of 5,329 American military dead, many of whom died in the "Battle of the Bulge." Their headstones are aligned in straight rows that compose the form of a huge Greek cross on the lawn and are framed by tree masses. The cemetery served as the location of the Central Identification Point for the American Graves Registration Service of the War Department during much of the life of the Service.



       The Brittany American Cemetery and Memorial is situated about one mile southeast of the village of St. James, Marche, France on the N-798 highway. The Brittany American Cemetery, 28 acres in extent, lies among the hedgerows in rolling farm country near the border between the Brittany and Normandy regions of France. It is one of fourteen permanent American World War II military cemetery memorials erected by the American Battle Monuments Commission on foreign soil. The site was liberated on 2 August 1944 by the 8th Infantry Division. The 4,410 American military Dead buried in the Brittany American Cemetery lost their lives in the area of northwestern France extending from the D-Day beachhead westward to Brest and eastward to the Seine and represent 43 percent of the burials originally made in the region. Most of them died in the fighting in and around St. Lo.



       The 4.5 acre Brookwood American Cemetery and Memorial in England lies to the west of the large civilian cemetery built by the London Necropolis Co. and contains the graves of 468 of our military dead. Within the American cemetery the headstones are arranged in four plots, grouped about the flagpole. The regular rows of white marble headstones on the smooth lawn are framed by masses of shrubs and evergreen trees which form a perfect setting for the chapel, a classic white stone building on the north end of the cemetery. The interior of the chapel is of tan-hued stone. Small stained-glass windows light the altar and flags and the carved cross above them. On the walls within the chapel are inscribed the names of 563 of the missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.



       The Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial site in England, 30.5 acres in total, was donated by the University of Cambridge. It lies on a slope with the west and south sides framed by woodland. The cemetery contains the remains of 3,812 of our military dead; 5,127 names are recorded on the Tablets of the Missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. Most died in the Battle of the Atlantic or in the strategic air bombardment of northwest Europe.



       The Epinal American Cemetery and Memorial in France, 48.6 acres in extent, is sited on a plateau 100 feet above the Moselle River in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. It contains the graves of 5,255 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the campaigns across northeastern France to the Rhine and beyond into Germany. The cemetery was established in October 1944 by the 46th Quartermaster Graves Registration Company of the U.S. Seventh Army as it drove northward from southern France through the Rhone Valley into Germany. The cemetery became the repository for the fatalities in the bitter fighting through the Heasbourg Gap during the winter of 1944-45.



       The Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium occupies a 6.2-acre site. Masses of graceful trees and shrubbery frame the burial area and screen it from passing traffic. At the ends of the paths leading to three of the corners of the cemetery are circular retreats, with benches and urns. At this peaceful site rest 368 of our military dead, most of whom gave their lives in liberating the soil of Belgium in World War I. Their headstones are aligned in four symmetrical areas around the white stone chapel that stands in the center of the cemetery.



       The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy covers 70 acres, chiefly on the west side of the Greve "torrente." The wooded hills that frame its west limit rise several hundred feet. Between the two entrance buildings, a bridge leads to the burial area where the headstones of 4,402 of our military dead are arrayed in symmetrical curved rows upon the hillside. They represent 39 percent of the U.S. Fifth Army burials originally made between Rome and the Alps. Most died in the fighting that occurred after the capture of Rome in June 1944. Included among them are casualties of the heavy fighting in the Apennines shortly before the war's end. On May 2, 1945, the enemy troops in northern Italy surrendered.



       At the Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery and Memorial in Belgium, covering 57 acres, rest 7,992 of our 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. 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.



       The Lorraine American Cemetery and Memorial in France covers 113.5 acres and contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II in Europe, a total of 10,489. Their headstones are arranged in nine plots in a generally elliptical design extending over the beautiful rolling terrain of eastern Lorraine and culminating in a prominent overlook feature. Most of the dead here were killed while driving the German forces from the fortress city of Metz toward the Siegfried Line and the Rhine River. Initially, there were over 16,000 Americans interred in the St. Avold region, mostly from the U.S. Seventh Army's Infantry and Armored Divisions and its Cavalry Groups. St. Avold served as a vital communications center for the vast network of enemy defenses guarding the western border of the Third Reich.



       The Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial, 50.5 acres in extent, is situated in a beautiful wooded area. The cemetery was established on December 29, 1944 by the 609th Quartermaster Company of the U.S. Third Army while Allied Forces were stemming the enemy's desperate Ardennes Offensive, one of the critical battles of World War II. The city of Luxembourg served as headquarters for General George S. Patton's U.S. Third Army. General Patton is buried here. Sloping gently downhill from the memorial is the burial area containing 5,076 of our military dead, many of whom lost their lives in the "Battle of the Bulge" and in the advance to the Rhine. Their headstones follow graceful curves; trees, fountains and flower beds contribute to the dignity of the ensemble.



       Within the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial in France, which covers 130.5 acres, rest the largest number of our military dead in Europe, a total of 14,246. Most of those buried here lost their lives during the Meuse-Argonne Offensive of World War I. The immense array of headstones rises in long regular rows upward beyond a wide central pool to the chapel that crowns the ridge. A beautiful bronze screen separates the chapel foyer from the interior, which is decorated with stained-glass windows portraying American unit insignia; behind the altar are flags of the principal Allied nations.



       The World War II Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial is the only American military cemetery in the Netherlands. The cemetery site has a rich historical background, lying near the famous Cologne-Boulogne highway built by the Romans and used by Caesar during his campaign in that area. The highway was also used by Charlemagne, Charles V, Napoleon, and Kaiser Wilhelm II. In May 1940, Hitler's legions advanced over the route of the old Roman highway, overwhelming the Low Countries. In September 1944, German troops once more used the highway for their withdrawal from the countries occupied for four years. Within the tower is a chapel. The light fixture in the chapel and the altar candelabra and flower bowl were presented by the government of the Netherlands and by the local Provincial administration. Beyond the tower is a burial area divided into 16 plots, where rest 8,301 of our military dead, their headstones set in long curves. A wide, tree-lined mall leads to the flagstaff that crowns the crest.



       The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial in France is located on the site of the temporary American St. Laurent Cemetery, established by the U.S. First Army on June 8, 1944 and the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. The cemetery site, at the north end of its ½ mile access road, covers 172.5 acres and contains the graves of 9,387 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the D-Day landings and ensuing operations. On the Walls of the Missing in a semicircular garden on the east side of the memorial are inscribed 1,557 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.



       The Oise-Aisne American Cemetery and Memorial is located 2.5 kilometers east of Fere-en–Tardenois, along the D2 highway near the hamlet of Seringes-et-Nesles, approximately 113 kilometers northeast of Paris. The Cemetery, 36.5 acres in extent, is the second largest of eight permanent American World War I military cemeteries on foreign soil. Established initially on 2 August 1918 by the 42nd Division as a temporary battlefield cemetery, Congress authorized its retention as a permanent cemetery in 1921. The majority of the 6012 War Dead interred in the cemetery died fighting along the Ourcq River and in the area between the cemetery and the Oise River during the Aisne-Marne Offensive (July-August 1918) and Oise-Aisne Offensive (August-September 1918).



       The site of the Rhone American Cemetery and Memorial in France was selected because of its historic location along the route of the U.S. Seventh Army's drive up the Rhone Valley. It was established on August 19, 1944 after the Seventh Army's surprise landing in southern France. On 12.5 acres at the foot of a hill clad with the characteristic cypresses, olive trees, and oleanders of southern France rest 861 of our military dead, most of whom lost their lives in the liberation of southern France in August 1944. Their headstones are arranged in straight lines, divided into four plots, and grouped about an oval pool. At each end of the cemetery is a small garden. On the hillside overlooking the cemetery is the chapel with its wealth of decorative mosaic and large sculptured figures. Between the chapel and the burial area, a bronze relief map recalls military operations in the region. On the retaining wall of the terrace, 294 names of the missing are inscribed. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.



       The World War II Sicily-Rome American Cemetery and Memorial site in Italy covers 77 acres, rising in a gentle slope from a broad pool with an island and cenotaph flanked by groups of Italian cypress trees. Beyond the pool is the immense field of headstones of 7,861 of American military war dead, arranged in gentle arcs on broad green lawns beneath rows of Roman pines. The majority of these men died in the liberation of Sicily (July 10 to August 17, 1943); in the landings in the Salerno Area (September 9, 1943) and the heavy fighting northward; in the landings at Anzio Beach and expansion of the beachhead (January 22, 1944 to May 1944); and in air and naval support in the regions.



       The World War I Somme American Cemetery and Memorial in France is sited on a gentle slope typical of the open, rolling Picardy countryside. The 14.3-acre cemetery contains the graves of 1,844 of our military dead. Most lost their lives while serving in American units attached to British armies, or in operations near Cantigny. The headstones, set in regular rows, are separated into four plots by paths that intersect at the flagpole near the top of the slope. The longer axis leads to the chapel at the eastern end of the cemetery.



       The World War I St. Mihiel American Cemetery and Memorial in France, 40.5 acres in extent, contains the graves of 4,153 of our military dead. The majority of these died in the offensive that resulted in the reduction of the St. Mihiel salient that threatened Paris. The burial area is divided by Linden alignment trees and paths into four equal plots. At the center is a large sundial surmounted by an American eagle. To the right (west) is a statue of a World War I soldier and at the eastern end is a semi-circular overlook dominated by a sculpture representing a victory vase.



       Originally a World War I cemetery, the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial just outside Paris, France now shelters the remains of U.S. dead of both wars. The 7.5-acre cemetery contains the remains of 1,541 Americans who died in World War I and 24 Unknown dead of World War II. Bronze tablets on the walls of the chapel record the names of 974 World War I missing. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified.


       Countless veterans from WWWII, Korea and even the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts have been exposed to asbestos while serving in the military and may suffer from the deadly cancer asbestos mesothelioma as a result. For more information about this cancer and how it affects members of the military community please visit the MAA Center website.


       Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma are entitled to file a mesothelioma lawsuit. Please visit Mesothelioma Lawyer Center for more information and legal assistance.







Grunt Web Award