The Adopt-a-Grave Program at the Flanders Field American Cemetery
The adoption of a grave (or an inscription on the Wall of Missing) at the Flanders Field American Cemetery is administered by the American Legion “Flanders Field” Post BE02. The first step in adopting a grave is for an individual to pick up an application at the Cemetery’s Visitors Building, or download one from the programs webpage. The adopter can pick a specific grave or inscription however if the grave or inscription is already adopted, the American Legion will choose one for you. Send the application/Request for Adoption through the Belgian Post or via the internet to: firstname.lastname@example.org. The adopter will receive a Letter of Confirmation that will be mailed to you or via e-mail.
As this program is just beginning, the American Legion Post BE02 has determined that an adopter will not be allowed to adopt more than one grave or name on the Wall of the Missing. The American Legion Post BE02 asks at the adopters to keep the Post informed of changes in order to keep the Adoption Register up-to-date. Especially changes of address and obituary notices. Descendants who want to take over the adoption from their parents are more than welcome to do so and are asked to inform the Post. The American Legion Post BE02 will do its utmost to keep track of its adopters or their descendants. In case this fails in spite of all our efforts, then the American Legion Post BE02 maintains its right to transfer the grave-adoption to a new adopter.
The terms of Adoption are very simple: the adopter is expected to visit the grave and place flowers at the grave regularly and more specifically on special occasions like Memorial Day. The cemetery’s office has a limited supply of grave site floral vases which are on hand and are available upon request. We also provide limited support for those Adopters who want to perform research concerning the Soldier’s Unit and WWI military history (relative to the fighting that took place in the area during WWI). Upon request, the cemetery office will provide a list of archival sites and other patriotic associations that will assist in this endeavor. Adopters are also encouraged to share any newly discovered information, photos, etc., with the cemetery office to be place in the Soldier’s personal file. In many cases this information is shared with interested individuals and even on special occasions the Next of Kin of that Soldier. In many instances, the Soldier’s own family is able to discover important information concerning their loved ones that they did not know previously existed. When possible, we will attempt to contact the Next of Kin and inform them that their loved one’s grave has been adopted and forward the adopter’s contact information (in the event the Next of Kin chooses to contact the adopter at a later date). In most cases, the Next of Kin will contact the Adopter and establish a meaningful exchange of information and mutual respect.
In commemoration of the first American Offensive in Belgium during WWI, the American Legion Post BE02 will host an annual adoption ceremony in August at the Flanders Field American Cemetery, in coordination with the Cemetery Superintendent and his/her staff. This ceremony will be presided over by the members of the American Legion Post BE02 who will oversee the presentation of individual Adoption Certificates.
The adoption of a grave (or an inscription on the Wall of Missing) at the Flanders Field American cemetery is free. If you care to assist the American Legion in their activities and programs, please visit their website at:
Flanders Field American Cemetery lies on the southeast edge of the town of Waregem, Belgium, along the Lille-Gent Autoroute E-17. It is located 175 miles north of Paris and 52 miles west of Brussels. The cemetery is within 44 miles of Brugge, Belgium and 22 miles of Gent, Belgium. Waregem may be reached by train from Brussels via Gent in approximately one hour; from Paris via Rijsel and Kortrijk in about five hours and via Brussels and Gent in about five and a half hours. Taxi service is available from the train station in Waregem.
The GPS Coordinates are: N50 52.424 E3 27.218