With an estimated 100 million casualties in the two Great Wars, special military cemeteries were created across 150 countries. Parcels of land where given to different countries so that they could bury their dead and preserve their memories throughout time. France is the resting place to the most fallen soldiers with over 4000 cemeteries. Normandy is also home to the largest German war cemetery at La Cambe, with over 21,400 soldiers finding their final resting place. Tyne Cot Cemetery in Belgium is the largest Commonwealth military cemetery in the world with 11,954 soldiers of the Commonwealth Forces buried.
Each country has an organisation that is responsible for looking after the cemeteries which contain their fallen soldiers. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) is an organisation of six independent member states; United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, and South Africa which mark, record and maintain the graves and places of commemoration of Commonwealth of Nations military forces killed during the two World Wars. In this capacity, the Commission is responsible for the commemoration of 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women in 150 countries worldwide. The German War Graves Commission, Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge in German is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of German war graves in Europe and North Africa. Its objectives are acquisition, maintenance and care of German war graves; tending to next of kin; youth and educational work; and preservation of the memory to the sacrifices of war and despotism. The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) is an independent agency of the United States government that administers, operates, and maintains permanent U.S. military cemeteries, memorials and monuments both inside and outside the United States. The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War II cemetery and memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, that honours American troops who died in Europe during World War II. It covers 172.5 acres and contains 9,388 burials.
Anniversaries of battles attract many visitors to the various Memorial Cemeteries and even heads of state come to lay their wreaths for the fallen soldiers, but people come from all over the world at all different times throughout the year to visit the graves of their fallen forefathers and to say thank you for their sacrifice. Schools also bring children to visit the cemeteries and learn why they are there and what they stand for. All people from whichever nation they come from to give thanks to these brave men and women, who paid the ultimate price, pray that such terrible times may never be repeated.
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War II cemetery and memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, that honors American soldiers who died in Europe during World War II. On June 8, 1944, the U.S. First Army established the temporary cemetery, the first American cemetery on European soil in World War II. After the war, the present-day cemetery was established a short distance to the East of the original site.
The Bayeux War Cemetery is the largest Second World War cemetery of Commonwealth soldiers in France, located in Bayeux, Normandy. The cemetery contains 4,648 burials, mostly of the Invasion of Normandy. Opposite this cemetery stands the Bayeux Memorial which commemorates more than 1,800 casualties of the Commonwealth forces who died in Normandy and have no known grave. The cemetery grounds were assigned to the United Kingdom in perpetuity by France in recognition of the sacrifices made by the British Empire in the defense and liberation of France during the war. In addition to the Commonwealth burials, there are 366 graves of German soldiers
The Terlincthun British Cemetery at Wimille looks out across the English Channel and over the city of Boulogne – sur – Mer. The cemetery was designed by Sir Herbert Baker. Terlincthun contains 4,378 Commonwealth burials of the First World War plus over 200 of other nationalities and there are also 149 burials from the second World War.