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Sunday, October 9, 2011

The American Diaspora in Paris - the Memorial Cloister

When I was living in Suresnes (a small community just outside of Paris) I would wake up in the morning to the sounds of the American national anthem being played somewhere in the hills surrounding the city.  At first I thought I was hallucinating - dreaming crazy expatriate dreams of home.

I wasn't.  Right smack in the middle of the city on the slopes of Mont Valerian is an American military cemetery and memorial.  It's not large - 7.5 acres - but it is meticulously cared for and every so often there are ceremonies honoring the 1,500 American soldiers buried here who died in World War I and 24 unknown dead from World War II.  Though I do not normally spend my days communing with the dead, knowing that my compatriots were there gave me a strange sort of comfort when I was bitterly lonely and missing home in my first years here in France.

 Passing through the American Cathedral the other day, I discovered another memorial that I did not know existed.  If you walk through the main doors of the church and head in the direction of the chapel, I recommend that you take a detour (a left) into the Memorial Cloister.

This corridor was originally a memorial to the American dead from World War I.  In 1994 7 plaques were added honoring all the dead and missing (military and civilian) from World War II.

It's quite beautiful and so calm and quiet.  If you stand with your back to the wall and look out through the arches you will have a lovely view of the Dean's Garden.

And here are a few more pictures from my last visit just last week.

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