I have compiled these Manila American Cemetery photos for you, mainly because the three photos on the page about the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial, just does not do the place any justice.
Even though it is a cemetery for the war dead and missing I was amazed at how peaceful I felt. The grounds are beautifully kept and the Memorial is quite unique and extremely easy to negotiate. Not surprisingly quite a few Americans frequent the Manila American Cemetery searching for loved ones. They take a photo of the lost relative or friend and take it home to share with the rest of the family.
Even if you are not American it is well worth a visit, the Operations Maps in each of the rooms at the end of each hemicycle provide a good history lesson on the war campaign conducted in the Asia Pacific region.
The above photo is a view from the Manila American Memorial back down the Central Plaza to the front gates. On the left hand side at the end of Central Plaza as you look at the photo, is where you will find the Front Office.
The Central Plaza has a roadway on either side and from these roadways shoot off others that give you access to the grave sites. You can see the white crosses on either side of the road.
In the background looms larger than life, the Makati City skyscrapers. The noise and chaos are left behind at the front gates, you can hear the odd horn blow, but all is forgotten once inside.
Photo 2 - Grave Sites
Row upon row of white crosses are in regimental file. The graves are in order and symmetrical as you would expect from any military attachment.
The crosses are mostly white marble quarried in either Lasa or Carara Italy, some of the marble for the crosses was even quarried in the Philippines from the island of Romblon.
There are 17,100 headstones and are made up of 16,663 US military and 570 Philippine Nationals, some of the headstones mark the graves of more than one person, hence the reason why there are more graves than headstones.
Photo 3 - Front Office
The front office is on your left as you first come through the gates. If you are trying to locate a particular grave site, this is your first place to stop. The staff here are
fantastic and will help you out as much are they can.
If you locate a gravesite they will not only provide you with it's location for you to visit, but will also print off the
American Battle Monuments Commission WWII Honour Roll, a National Archives & Records Administration file and if they were a Missing in Action they will provide you with a print of the WWII Missing in Action or Buried at Seas Certificate. You will also receive a WWII Honoree Certificate.
Photo 4 - Inside the Hemicycles
This photo was taken in the middle of the hemicycle and you can see that the fins or tableted walls run on either side. If you look close you can see the inscriptions in the walls of the missing in action. Also on the floor is carved the seals of the various US states and territories.
There are two hemicycles, the east and the west and are both semicircles starting at the Chapel.
Photo 5 - The Hemicycles
This is the inside view of the western hemicycle. Each wall is inscribed from top to bottom with the lists of the missing in action.
The information chiselled is in alphabetical order with Surname, First name, Initial then Rank, Service and State which they entered the service.
Photo 6 - The Chapel
Inside the Chapel is an altar which is up against the back wall. The mural on the rear wall is of a tall female dispersing bunches of flowers onto the ground. The inscription underneath says To their memory their country brings its gratitude as flowers forever living.
Photo 7 - The Operations Maps
There are four Map rooms, which are located at the ends of each hemicycle. All up there are 25 maps, they provide a graphical lesson on 25 decisive moments in World War 2 history.
The Maps are huge and go into great detail. The Map above is in the Southwest Room.
Photo 8 - Manila American Cemetery Gardens
I thought I would finish with a photo of the gardens, which shows the peace and tranquillity of the Cemetery. The layout of the lovingly tendered manicured lawns and plants, was designed by a landscape architect who tried to achieve a botanical park-like background. I think he achieved it and created a Cemetery and Memorial which will honours those who fell fighting for freedom.