Photos by Archie Castillo
The Manila American Cemetery & Memorial, Global City, Taguig, Philippines
The cemetery site covers 152 acres of gently rising ground which culminates at the memorial. It is the largest in area of the cemeteries built and administered by the American Battle Monuments Commission, and the largest in point of the number of graves and of those missing who are recorded upon the walls of the memorial. Major objections were found to all of the sites of temporary cemeteries which had been established during World War II. On April 1, 1948, the Philippine government granted permission to the United States to establish a memorial cemetery on part of the former U.S. reservation of Fort William McKinley. A tremendous amount of grading, draining and landscaping was required in order to convert the rough terrain to the beautiful and regular forms of the present cemetery. Visitors may note that some areas among the burial plots are merely grassed, without headstones; generally this is because in these areas the underlying rock is so close to the surface as to make them unsuitable for burials. In this cemetery are buried 17,206 of our military, representing 40% of the burials which were originally made in temporary cemeteries in New Guinea, the Philippines (and other islands of the Southwest Pacific Area), and the Palau Islands of the Central Pacific Area. Most of them lost their lives in the epic defense of the Philippines and the East Indies in 1941 and 1942, and in the long but victorious return of the American forces through the vast island chain. The cemetery and memorial was completed in 1960 and was dedicated on December 8, 1960.