manila american cemetery and memorial

Of the roughly 418,000 individual stories of American service men and women who lost their lives during the Second World War, this weekend we would like to share one from the National Archives at Denver.

This photograph from our Bureau of Indian Affairs Blackfeet Agency holdings shows Murray Williamson, born in 1917 into the Blackfeet tribe of Montana. On March 28, 1941, Williamson enlisted in the United States Army at Fort Missoula, Montana, noting one year of college and a civilian career as a stenographer.

Nearly four years later, on January 19, 1945, Technical Sergeant Murray Williamson was killed in action during the opening days of the Battle of Luzon. He was interred in the Fort William McKinley Cemetery, known today as the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the Philippines. He was 27 years old.

Let us take some time this Memorial Day weekend to remember our service members buried here and around the globe, and then take the rest of the year to live our lives as fully as we can in honor of their memory since it is largely by their sacrifice that we are able to in the first place.

(Image source; RG 75 Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, “Decimal Correspondence Files, 1913-57,” Box 63, NAID 7329402)

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Following Mauritius I traveled to Manila, Philippines.

One afternoon I visited the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila, within the boundaries of the former Fort William McKinley.

From Wikipedia:

The cemetery, 152 acres (62 ha) in area, contains 17,206 graves.  It is the largest number of graves of any cemetery for U.S. personnel killed during World War II and holds war dead from the Philippines and other allied nations.

Many of the personnel whose remains are interred or represented were killed in New Guinea, or during the Battle of the Philippines (1941–42) or the Allied recapture of the islands. The headstones are made of marble which are aligned in eleven plots forming a generally circular pattern.  The Memorial is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Twenty-five large mosaic maps in four rooms recall the actions of the United States Armed Forces in the Pacific, China, India and Burma. Carved in the floors are the seals of the American states and its territories.  

Twenty-three Medal of Honor recipients are buried or memorialized at the Manila cemetery.  Also honored are the five Sullivan Brothers, who perished when the light cruiser USS Juneau (CL-52) was sunk in June 1942. A. Peter Dewey (1916–1945), an OSS officer killed in Saigon shortly after World War II ended, is listed on the Tablets of the Missing. The Camp O'Donnell Memorial is dedicated to the memory of the “Battling Bastards of Bataan”.

Photos from my visit to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial.

(Click on any image to enlarge.)

Born in 1917 into the Montana Blackfeet tribe, Murray Williamson enlisted in the United States Army at Fort Missoula, Montana, on March 28, 1941.

Nearly four years later, Technical Sergeant Williamson, with the 161st Infantry 25th Division, was killed in action on January 19, 1945, during the opening days of the Battle of Luzon.  

He was interred in the Fort William McKinley Cemetery, today known as the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in the #Philippines. He was 27 years old.

This photo comes from Record Group 75 Blackfeet Agency holdings in the National Archives at Denver​. This record group is  a small collection of photographs; young Blackfeet soldiers, Marines, and sailors who all served in WWII. Murray Williamson was one of them.

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~Lest We Forget~

A Place of RemembranceMarkers of remembranceRows of Remembrance

Memorial Day Series by FotoGrazio 

Memorial Day Series. The Manila American Cemetery and Memorial is located in Fort Bonifacio, Metro Manila, within the boundaries of the former Fort William McKinley. With a total of 17,206 graves, it has the largest number of graves of any cemetery for U.S. personnel killed during World War II and holds war dead from the Philippines and other allied nations. See a 3 minute slide show of the images put to music at this link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtAacBz4eMk