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Watched over by a fluttering Stars and Stripes the American Military Cemetery at Madingley in Cambridge is the only one of its kind in England.
It lies in beautiful countryside on land given by the University of Cambridge. The ground covers some thirty and a half acres and provides the final resting place for our brave American allies who gave their lives during World War II, as together we fought against Hitler's tyranny in the cause of freedom for all nations.
No one who visits Madingley cannot fail but be impressed, for the cemetery and memorial, often top of the itinerary for many of our visiting American cousins, is awesome in its beauty. It was opened on the 7th December, 1943 and encompasses 3,800 white crosses and a great wall of Portland stone inscribed with the names of 5,000 American service men and women who gave their lives in the war.
The site is now designated a site of special historic interest, it has woodland framing the southern and western edges of the land. There are 3,812 military dead resting here and on the wall which runs from the entrance to the chapel there are the names of 5,126 service men and women who lost their lives in the conflict, but whose remains were never recovered. This wall is inset with four sculptures representing a Soldier, a Sailor, an Airman and a Coast Guard, all clothed in typical uniform of the day with weapons.
Above the Roll of Honour is an extract from President Eisenhower's dedication displayed in St. Paul's Cathedral, London.
The chapel is a place of solemn tranquillity, it has two huge military maps and stained glass windows bearing the State Seals and military decorations. Its Mosaic ceiling acts as a memorial to our Air Forces Dead. Running from the chapel is the wall of the missing.
At the base of the great flag pole from which the American emblem proudly flutters are inscribed the stirring words from the poem by John McCrea - In Flanders Fields, the evocative words read "To You From Failing Hands We Throw The Torch - Be Yours To Hold It High". The flag pole is sited at the main entrance, it is from here that the great mall stretches forth flanked by sweeping green lawns covered by curved rows of headstones.
This is a place that fully and fittingly honours the participation of those American Service Men and Women whose lives were cruelly taken during the dark days of Word War II. It leaves you with a deep sadness at was has gone, a strong feeling of pride, and hope for a brighter tomorrow.
The American Military Cemetery and Memorial is open each day throughout the year, except for Christmas Day and New Year's Day between the hours of 9.a.m. and 5.p.m.
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