Clinton pays tribute to U.S. war dead at Manila cemetery

November 13, 2009

U.S.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton laid a wreath on Friday at the Manila American Cemetery,  paying tribute to American war dead in the Pacific two days after the U.S. Veterans Day holiday. 
Most of the 17,202 Americans buried in the 152-acre (61.5-hectare) cemetery were killed in the defense of the Philippines and East Indies during World War II in 1941 and 1942 or in the battle to recapture the islands. 
The cemetery, located on part of the former Fort William McKinley U.S. military reservation, has a limestone tower at its center with a small chapel inside and a relief sculpture adorning one side.
The memorial courtyard is ringed by two hemicycles whose walls bear the names of 36,285 missing.
Clinton placed a wreath at the chapel during the ceremony, which was attended by a small group of veterans.
The Security and Escort Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines played “Stars and Stripes Forever” and “Semper Fidelis” and a pair of buglers played “Taps.”

The site is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission, which oversees the U.S. military cemeteries in Normandy and other locations.
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Photo credit: Reuters/Erik de Castro (Clinton at Manila American Cemetery ceremony)

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