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 memorial, which stands on a plateau to the west of the burial area, contains ceramic operations maps with narratives and service flags. High on its exterior front wall is the large figure of St. Nabor, the martyred Roman soldier overlooking the silent host. On each side of the memorial, and parallel to its front, stretch the Tablets of the Missing on which are inscribed 444 names. Rosettes mark the names of those since recovered and identified. The entire area is framed in woodland. The cemetery is open daily to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. except December 25 and January 1. It is open on host country holidays. When the cemetery is open to the public, a staff member is on duty in the Visitor Building to answer questions and escort relatives to grave and memorial sites. copyright: http://www.abmc.gov/cemeteries/cemeteries/lo.php
France is affectionately referred to as "the Hexagon" for its overall shape.French history goes back to the Gauls, a Celtic tribe which inhabited the area circa 300BC until being conquered by Julius Caesar.The Franks were the first tribe to adopt Catholic Christianity after the Roman Empire collapsed. France became an independent location in the Treaty of Verdun in (843 AD), which divided up Charlemagne's Carolingian Empire into several portions.The French monarchy reached its zenith during the reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, who stood for seventy-two years as the Monarch of all Monarchs. His palace of Versailles and its Hall of Mirrors are a splendid treasure-trove of Baroque art.The French Revolution ended the rule of the monarchy with the motto "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity!" On July 14th, 1789 angry mobs stormed La Bastille prison and began the Revolution in which Louis XVI, his wife Marie-Antoinette and thousands of others met the guillotine.One decade after the revolution, Napolean Bonaparte seized control of the Republic and named himself Emperor. His armies conquered most of Europe and his Napoleonic Code became a lasting legal foundation for concepts of personal status and property.During the period of colonization France controlled the largest empire in the world, second only to Britain.France is one of the founding members of the European Union and the United Nations, as well as one of the nuclear armed nations of the world.Text by Steve Smith.