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How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!  ~Maya Angelou

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.  ~Joseph Drake

With the tears a Land hath shed
Their graves should ever be green.
~Thomas Bailey Aldrich

Years ago, I was visiting the Philippines (my country of birth) and my family and I had the opportunity to see the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.

Here is an excerpt from the American Battle Monuments Commission:

The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines occupies 152 acres on a prominent plateau, visible at a distance from the east, south and west. It contains the largest number of graves of our military dead of World War II, a total of 17,201, most of whom lost their lives in operations in New Guinea and the Philippines. The headstones are aligned in 11 plots forming a generally circular pattern, set among masses of a wide variety of tropical trees and shrubbery.

We drove through the hectic traffic of Manila to get there.  The cemetery was a beautifully kept place.  The crowds and boisterousness was left behind. It was peaceful and quiet.  Except for us, I don’t remember anyone else there that day.

Our tour guide told us that the Americans imported their own grass for the grounds. I don’t know what kind of trees those are either, but it looks like they were also imported because they don’t look indigenous to the region.

“The Memorial consists of the tower containing the small devotional chapel, and two hemicycles in front which embrace the Memorial Court. The structures are faced with travertine limestone.” (Description taken from the Visitors Brochure)

Manila American Cemetery Memorial

Manila American Cemetery Memorial (Photo credit: Kevin)

There was a beautiful structure called The Wall of the Missing.  I wish I took a better picture of it, but I didn’t so here’s one Zemanta found for me.

There are several walls that lists the names of those heroes missing in action.  Mr. Literary Tiger and myself found the last names of our families on the wall.  It was quite moving.

“Engraved tablets honor 36,286 Missing in action who gave their lives in the service of their country, including 21 Medal of Honor recipients.” (Description Taken from Visitor’s Brochure)

Have a good Memorial Day with your friends and families.  Let us not forget the ones who came before us and the ones who continue to make sacrifices for our freedom.

I’m off to help the family hang up the flag.