Frequently Asked Questions


Questions about ABMC History and its Burial Policies

  • Are the remains of the war dead actually buried at the overseas American military cemeteries?
     
    • Yes, the remains of American war dead are buried at these cemeteries. The interment of remains of World War I and World War II war dead at permanent overseas American military cemeteries was made by the American Graves Registration Service, Quartermaster General of the War Department. When the interment program was completed the cemeteries were turned over to ABMC for maintenance and administration.
       
  • Are the cemetery grounds American territory?
     
    • No, the cemetery grounds are not American territory. However, use of the land is granted to the United States in perpetuity, free of any taxes, fees or any other charges. This is done through a treaty between the United States and the relevant host nation. For example, if there is a crime committed within the boundaries of an ABMC site, host nation law applies and the investigation would be conducted by local police.

 

Questions on Visiting ABMC Cemeteries

  • Are animals allowed within the cemetery?
    • Our cemeteries are the resting places of thousands of fallen American service members. To ensure our sacred sites are kept at the highest standard possible, the only animals allowed within cemeteries and memorials are specially trained guide dogs or other service dogs accompanying individuals with disabilities. We ask that owners of these animals maintain proper decorum. Animals needing to relieve themselves must be taken outside of the viewshed of the plot areas and the owner must remove any waste from the site. Ultimately, the cemetery staff will determine whether a service dog may access the cemetery, therefore, visitors wishing to bring service dogs should contact the cemetery prior to visiting.  Visitors may contact the cemetery staff via phone or email to get available updates and information. Contact information for ABMC sites is located on ABMC.gov; specifically, on the dedicated page for each cemetery, monument, and memorial.
       
  • Are visitors allowed to bring food within the cemetery?
    • ABMC cemeteries, monuments, and memorials are pristine national shrines, for the purpose of remembrance and commemoration.  With the exception of water, visitors may not consume food and beverages within the cemetery grounds. 
       
  • We are on a bike trip and would like to visit the cemetery. Are we allowed to visit with our bicycles?
    • No vehicle is allowed inside the cemetery grounds, to include bicycles, electric scooters, skateboards, etc.  Most of our cemeteries have parking areas, which include racks for visitors to secure their bicycles. ABMC encourages individuals planning to visit any of our sites to contact the cemetery staff via phone or email to get available updates and information. Contact information for ABMC sites is located on ABMC.gov; specifically, on the dedicated page for each cemetery, monument, and memorial.
  • I’d like to take some pictures inside the cemetery to keep as memories and share with family and friends. Is this allowed?
    • Personal photos are allowed throughout the cemetery grounds. We remind visitors that our cemeteries are sacred places of remembrance and commemoration, therefore, please make sure that the photos you take are respectful of the site and the men and women buried and commemorated within. Photos of a non-commemorative nature including tik-tok videos, wedding photos, political advocacy, publicity, or for influencer promotion are not acceptable. Any videos or photography for commercial/media purposes must be requested in advance through the ABMC public affairs office through a film permit. A film permit is also required for official film and photography shoots, and for any visitors, media or organizations wishing to use a drone. 
  • Is smoking allowed while visiting?
    •  No smoking is prohibited within the cemetery as well as within our visitor buildings (i.e. reception, visitor centers, chapels and memorials).

 

  • What are the security protocols for ABMC sites?
    • To ensure the effectiveness of our operational security efforts, we are unable to provide specific details about the processes and procedures we implement at our sites. Please be assured that the safety and security of our visitors and staff are a top priority for the American Battle Monuments Commission, which has dedicated and experienced security personnel.

 

  • Are military reenactors allowed on ABMC cemeteries?
    • ABMC cemeteries are the sacred and final resting place of men and women who sacrificed their lives for freedom.  Many of these people fought bravely in their country’s uniform and some earned military decorations for their valor. ABMC’s position is that is it disrespectful for visitors to wear unearned U.S. military rank or decorations. Accordingly, reenactors displaying U.S. military rank or decorations will be asked to remove them prior to entering the cemetery grounds.  Additionally, the following restrictions apply at all ABMC sites: 1) Real or replica weapons of any kind are prohibited; 2) tracked vehicles of any kind are prohibited 3) if antique military vehicles are parked in ABMC parking lots, drivers must place an oil drain pan on the ground under the vehicle.  Cemetery staff has the ultimate authority to determine what is acceptable and visitors should contact the cemetery for clarification prior to visiting. Contact information for ABMC sites is located on ABMC.gov; specifically, on the dedicated page for each cemetery, monument, and memorial.

 

  • Are active-duty military personnel allowed to wear military uniforms in the cemeteries?
    • Actively serving military personnel, or veterans, may wear their uniform and/or earned decorations in accordance with current military regulations.
       
  • Is there are dress code or standards of conduct rules at ABMC sites?
    • ABMC sites are sacred commemorative shrines. We ask visitors to respect the reflective and peaceful intent of our sites in guiding their behavior and dress. Any behavior, or dress, that is considered disrespectful by cemetery staff will be communicated to visitors.  Visitors who persist in disrespectful behavior will be required to leave the site.  
       

 

Questions about Military Records, Awards, Statistics...

  • Where can I find information regarding a veteran who did not die during the war in which he or she served?
    • The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration holds the records of all discharged military personnel. Veterans and next of kin of deceased veterans can order copies of records online. Inquiries from individuals other than veterans and family members must be submitted in writing to the National Archives and Records Administration.

National Personnel Records Center
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO 63138
Telephone: 314-801-0800

  • How can I locate a veteran?
    • ABMC does not maintain records relating to discharged veterans of the U.S. armed forces. You might find the information you are seeking by placing an advertisement in veterans’ magazines that have special reunion columns, or by searching online for relevant unit organizations.

 

Questions about Private Memorials and Isolated Graves

  • Is ABMC involved with private memorials?
    • We control the design and construction of U.S. military monuments and markers in foreign countries by other U.S. citizens and organizations, both public and private, and encourage the maintenance of such monuments and markers by their sponsors.

 

Questions about Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action

  • Why is the inscribed date of death of the missing in action frequently different than the date on which the decedent was declared missing?
    • Without confirmed information to the contrary, a War Department Review Board established the official date of death of those missing as one year and a day from the date on which the individual was placed in missing status.

 

Questions about the Korean War and Vietnam War

  • Are there any permanent overseas American military cemeteries from the Korean or Vietnam Wars?
    • No, all recoverable remains from the Korean and Vietnam Wars were returned to the United States for interment at national or private cemeteries.

 

Questions about the ABMC Database

  • Why can’t I locate certain names of war dead in your database?
    • Our database contains only the names of those interred or memorialized at ABMC cemeteries and memorials. The database does not contain the names of war dead returned to the United States for permanent interment at national or private cemeteries.