To honor the centennial anniversary of the First World War, CyArk partnered with the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) to document eight military cemetery chapels dedicated to the American armed forces throughout Europe. CyArk digitally documented the Flanders Field American Cemetery using laser scanning, photogrammetry, and aerial drone photography. CyArk’s digital documentation of the Flanders Field Cemetery chapel and its surrounding landscape allows people who are unable to physically visit the site to experience the monument and remember those who gave their lives for their country and the Allied cause on Belgium soil.
Introducing the Flanders Field American Cemetery
Established in 1921 in the northwest region of Belgium, Flanders Field American Cemetery’s name was inspired by a World War I veteran’s poem. The second stanza of “In Flanders Fields” reads: "We are the Dead. Short days ago. We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow. Loved and were loved, and now we lie. In Flanders fields." Constructed in 1930, the cemetery’s white limestone chapel sits in the center the lush site surrounded by 368 plots. Stark against the vibrant green grass, the white cross headstones mark the graves of American soldiers from the 91st, 37th, 27th, and 30th AEF Divisions who lost their lives in nearby battles. World War I resulted in the largest loss of life the world had experienced to date, and the cemetery and chapel reflect a cultural shift to memorialize the lives of each individual soldier following the war. The cemetery and chapel survived the ravages of another world war just a decade after its construction, remaining an enduring reminder of the relationship between the United States and Belgium and the sacrifices people of both nations made together on the battlefields.
Panoramic view of Flanders Field American Cemetery
Flander's Field Chapel
Positioned at the center of almost four hundred headstones is the Flanders Field American Cemetery chapel. In the “Stripped Classical” style of the cemetery, architect and World War I veteran, Paul P. Cret designed the chapel. While the exterior is unvarnished, apart from the words “Greet them with grateful hearts” at its entrance, the interior chapel walls bear a lengthy inscription, written in English, French, and Flemish: “This chapel has been erected by the United States of America in memory of her soldiers with fought and died in Belgium during the World War. These graves are the permanent and visible symbol of the heroic devotion with which they gave their lives to the common cause of humanity.” Elements throughout the chapel, such as a striking Grand Antique marble altar, bas-relief carvings, and a silver and gold mosaic ceiling, make up the shrine to the many fallen, yet unforgotten, American soldiers who fought there a century ago.
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