American Cemetery and Memorial

Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer, France

On June 8, 1944, the U.S. First Army established the temporary cemetery, the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. After the war, the present-day cemetery was established a short distance to the east of the original site. Like all other overseas American cemeteries in France for World War I and II, France has granted the United States a special, perpetual concession to the land occupied by the cemetery, free of any charge or any tax. This cemetery is managed by the American government, under Congressional acts that provide yearly financial support for maintaining them, with most military and civil personnel employed abroad. The U.S. flag flies over these granted soils.

The cemetery is located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach (one of the landing beaches of the Normandy Invasion) and the English Channel. It covers 70 ha, and contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead, most of whom were killed during the invasion of Normandy and ensuing military operations in World War II. Included are graves of Army Air Corps crews shot down over France as early as 1942.

The names of 1,557 Americans who lost their lives in the Normandy campaign but could not be located and/or identified are inscribed on the walls of a semicircular garden at the east side of the memorial. This part consists of a semicircular colonnade with a loggia at each end containing maps and narratives of the military operations. At the center is a 22-foot bronze statue entitled The Spirit of American Youth Rising from the Waves. Facing west at the memorial, one sees in the foreground the reflecting pool, the mall with burial areas to either side and the circular chapel beyond. Behind the chapel are allegorical figures representing the United States and France. An orientation table overlooks the beach and depicts the landings at Normandy.



Your name


Founded: 1944
Category: Cemeteries, mausoleums and burial places in France

More Information


4.9/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

CMB Caspanello (13 months ago)
It is a very surreal experience to walk up to this cemetery. The land is enormous and when you really start reading the markers it does hit you how many people died in a short time frame. Books will never replace the true history and historic places as this. It is a must see when you are in France. Very well taken care of, lots of parking, and facilities.
Glenn Bellekens (2 years ago)
I came for the cemetery, but the real treasure was the museum in the memorial center. The quotes of the men who fought there, the tales of the people who died, the elaborate planning that went before the invasions, the training, the selfless collaboration of people, united for only one cause. Liberation. Surreal experience. It left me in utter awe. It gave the whole experience so much more meaning… It also helped that this was the first thing we visited before seeing the cemetery, the batteries, bomb crater ridden battlefields, and the invasion beaches. Everything was so full of understanding of how unimaginably huge the sacrifices were. It was almost tangible. And then you have people complaining here because they couldn’t bring their dog, or they heard a lawnmower maintaining the meticulously kept memorial place for people who went through hell, for us all, true heroes, every single one of them. It’s just painfully embarrassing. Rules are rules, show some dignity and respect, it’s the very least you can do.
T. K. (2 years ago)
A depressing and historic place. Thanks to all Allied soldiers who have brought peace to Europe through their commitment. Honoring you is our responsibility. Impressive exhibition. Definitely worth a visit. Located in close proximity to the Overlord Museum.
Austin Duncan (2 years ago)
This wasn’t initially on my Northern France itinerary, but am very grateful we decided to stop by. It’s a very solemn place, perhaps especially so being an American. I had been to many stateside military monuments before, but none that were as emotionally heavy as Normandy. The fact that you can gaze down at the beach where so many perished from amongst the headstones gives added weight to the experience. It was also very encouraging to see so many visitors of varying nationalities, you get the feeling of how pivotal this moment truly was for the preservation of Western Europe. You should really consider making this place a priority on any visit to France.
Chris Stoddard (2 years ago)
Amazing and beautiful cemetery and memorial. Must see when in France. Take some time and go through the visitor center first and go downstairs and read the history of the invasion. Go down to the beach and walk on the sand our young troops died on for freedom ??
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Trencín Castle

Trenčín Castle is relatively large renovated castle, towering on a steep limestone cliff directly above the city of Trenčín. It is a dominant feature not only of Trenčín, but also of the entire Považie region. The castle is a national monument.

History of the castle cliff dates back to the Roman Empire, what is proved by the inscription on the castle cliff proclaiming the victory of Roman legion against Germans in the year 179.

Today’s castle was probably built on the hill-fort. The first proven building on the hill was the Great Moravian rotunda from the 9th century and later there was a stone residential tower, which served to protect the Kingdom of Hungary and the western border. In the late 13th century the castle became a property of Palatine Matúš Csák, who became Mr. of Váh and Tatras.

Matúš Csák of Trenčín built a tower, still known as Matthew’s, which is a dominant determinant of the whole building.