Suresnes American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) Cemetery and Gallery is located in Suresnes, Haut-de-Seine, France, a suburb northwest of Paris, on the eastern slope of Mt. Valerien, offering a sweeping panoramic view of Paris from the cemetery’s chapel steps. This chapel was designed by the distinguished ‘American Renaissance’ architect Charles Platt of New York and the French landscape designer Jacques Gréber was employed to lay out the site plan and cemetery, which choice was unusual as Gen. John Pershing, head of the ABMC at the time, much preferred to use Americans for this work.
The significant chapel details include the mosaic of the Angel of Victory (now called the Goddess of Victory), which isn’t a Christian symbol at all and actually started with the Berlin Victory Column built in 1873. After the First World War several Angels of Victory were erected, notably in London, Montreal and Vancouver. Also in the chapel there are two cast bronze panels listing 974 missing American military personnel of WW1 who aren’t commemorated elsewhere.
The site was originally selected for the burial of Americans, both military and civilian, ultimately 1,541 of them, who died in Parisian hospitals during the WW1 era. Suresnes is atypical amongst ABMC cemeteries in that it isn’t a concentration site; all burials here were original. A notable grave is that of Brig. Gen. Robert E.L. Michie (1864-1918), commander of the 53rd Brigade, 27th Division, who died from a heart attack. The site was dedication by President Woodrow Wilson and Mrs. Wilson in May, 1919 although the construction wasn’t finished until 1932.
There are 24 unknown burials in a separate plot here that are believed to be Americans killed by the Gestapo at nearby Fort Mt. Valerien during the WW2 occupation.
After WW2 the site was improved as the American WW1 and WW2 Monument in Paris, as it is convenient for visits by French government officials and American Presidents making brief stopovers. The sons of the original architect, William and Geoffrey Platt, designed the loggias and WW2 Memorial Room and the site was rededicated in 1952.
In the WW1 Memorial Room there is preserved the palm frond that President Wilson laid on the site in 1919.
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