On a Paris to Swiss Alps Viking River Cruise, a stop at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial was included. It is a historical site that I was not familiar with, nor knew anyone who had visited. After walking through the gorgeous and sacred site, I would recommend any American to visit. This is a cemetery of Second World War American military war heroes in Hamm, Luxembourg City.
In Luxembourg, over 5,000 American servicemen lost their lives at the Battle of the Bulge or died during the maneuver to liberate the country. They are remembered at the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial. Once inside the iron gates of the cemetery, it is quite emotional to see the magnitude of lives lost marked by endless rows of simple white crosses. Probably the most well-known grave found here is General George S. Patton.
More than 5,000 white cross markers (4958 Latin crosses and 118 Stars of David) commemorate graves of soldiers lost in World War II. The sight is haunting, yet solemn and patriotic at the same time. This 50-acre memorial site is overseen by the American Battle Monuments Commission. The US government agency maintains 26 American cemeteries and 29 memorials in 16 countries.
Three hundred seventeen soldiers that are still missing in action and named on a monumental wall. One female Army nurse is buried on the grounds, and the only woman I saw commemorated at the cemetary.
The Luxembourg American Cemetery has beautifully manicured grounds and an impressive memorial chapel with a mosaic ceiling (depicting the Holy Spirit as a dove) and stunning stained glass windows. A quote by Eisenhower is etched on the ground between pylons displaying battle movements. Gorgeous fountains overlook three terraced jet pools with bronze turtles and dolphins symbolizing Christian beliefs. There is also a welcome center to pick up brochures and information about the memorial site, as well as staff who can answer your questions.
General Patton History
George S. Patton commanded the US Seventh Army in World War II and the US Third Army in France and Germany after the invasion of Normandy in 1944. The General gave nearly 40 years to the US military and was a war hero. Patton was referred to as “Old Blood-and-Guts” by his men and thought by historians to be one of the greatest military leaders ever in the United States, but also one with a myriad of issues, possibly developed from his service. After dying from a broken neck as a result of a car accident, General Patton’s final resting place is behind his troops at the Luxembourg American Cemetery.
I didn’t plan to visit Luxembourg, it was merely a stop on my Viking River Cruise. But, I am so thankful that I got to see such a treasure and pay respects to some of America’s bravest soldiers. My grandfather served in World War II in Normandy, France, and being this close to people he may have fought with, or even personal friends, was incredible. I can’t describe how proud it made me feel, as an American, to think of how much we owe these courageous men.
I think I speak for the whole group of us cruise passengers, that we were choked up from entering the cemetery to exiting. If your travels take you to the area, I hope you will pay your respects here, too.
Around Town: Sights of Luxembourg
Viking also took us into Luxembourg City (the capital of Luxembourg) for an hour of sightseeing. My husband, Eddie, and I, took off on foot as quickly as possible to see the sights ,namely the Old Quarter, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Luxembourg City is a fortified medieval old town atop beautiful cliffs. The downtown is savvy and sophisticated, with upscale boutiques, cute cafes, and loads of street murals, statues, and fountains to take in. Must-sees are the Monument of Remembrance (Golden Lady, dedicated to Luxembourgers who volunteered for service during WWI), Adolphe Bridge, Notre Dame Cathedral Luxembourg (17th century), and Three Towers (circa 13th century), which is also another UNESCO site.
Eddie and I laughed at seeing Pizza Hut and Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurant first thing. Yummy pastry shops looked quite appealing, while the blooming trees and flowers added flair and softened the building lined streets. If you are a fan of Villeroy & Boch (fine china), there is an outlet store in the area. From nice toy stores to elegant fashions at department stores and shops, a casino to wine bars, Luxembourg City is high-end.
My favorite part of our walking tour was watching the guards outside of Grand Ducal Palace. This is the residence of the reigning monarch, Grand Duke Henri. Tours are available certain times of the year, though we did not have time to take one.
A Historical European Must-See
The Luxembourg American Cemetery is a moving place to visit. I’m so glad I had the opportunity see it. You can visit the military cemetery at 50, Val du Scheid 2517 Luxembourg from 9 AM to 5 PM every day of the year but Christmas and New Years Day.
Thanks to Viking River Cruises for my travels to this gorgeous place. As always, opinions and reviews are 100% mine and unbiased.
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