American Memorial Garden ceremoniously opened in Zonnebeke


The U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium, Denise C. Bauer, opened the American memorial garden in the Passchendaele Memorial Park on Thursday 27 October. The garden is part of the remembrance park for nations who fought during the First World War. The official opening was attended by several dignitaries and Zonnebeke youth.

A lesser-known chapter of WW1 in the spotlight                                                                      
In the winter of 1914-1915 the civilian population of Belgium was faced with hunger and shortages. Under the lead of future U.S. President Herbert Hoover the "Commission for Relief in Belgium” was founded. Between January 1915 and December 1918 this international network shipped 3.2 million tons of food aid to Belgium.
This lesser-known chapter of World War I is the subject of the American Passchendaele Memorial Garden. The oak boards with photos of Belgian citizens symbolize the boxes which protected the goods during the crossing to Belgium. In the centre of the garden is a metal structure with an embroidered poppy. This structure symbolizes the flour bags Belgian children decorated out of gratitude before the bags were sent back to America. A map of the U.S. in white concrete form a link with the white marble of the war memorials in Washington D.C. and the graves in American cemeteries. A quote from Woodrow Wilson completes the design.

Seven poppy gardens
The American memorial garden is one of seven gardens in the shape of a poppy in the thematic Passchendaele Memorial Park. At the request of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 different nations who fought in the First World War provide the design and construction of their garden.

"Last year we opened the first remembrance garden, the German poppy garden. As part of ‘100 years Battle of Passchendaele’ in 2017, we want to open the British, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian memorial garden," said Steven Vandenbussche, Director of the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917.

“We are so honored to be part of the museum’s Poppy Garden project. Today, we join our friends and allies to memorialize the sacrifices made during the war and to underscore our continued partnerships. The Poppy Garden is something Zonnebeke and the Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917 can be proud of”, said Denise C. Bauer, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium.

Click here for the pictures.

More information:
Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917
Berten Pilstraat 5A
8980 Zonnebeke
T +32 (0)51 77 04 41