It had no mileage on it, or in this case kilometers, but I followed the arrow sign until I came upon another, and then another and yet again another, all the while climbing up higher and higher and higher.
A good hour of pedaling eventually led me to my destination:
The Henri Chapelle American Cemetery.
To my surprise, the cemetery is maintained by the US Government: the American Battle Monuments Commission, which was established by law in 1923.
The cemetery lies on 57 acres.
That’s a deceptive number, however.
The site actually appears to be much bigger than that because it sits on the top of a ridge crest.
The memorial contains a museum and chapel on respective ends of the memorial; and the cemetery is overlooked by a “bronze statue of the Archangel bestowing a laurel branch upon the heroic Dead.”
The pillars of the monument “are engraved with the seals of the wartime 48 states, 3 territories, and the District of Columbia”.
Florida was easy to find – it has a very distinctive seal – but my native state of Maryland proved to be the hardest. I almost gave up trying to find it, but vowed not to stop looking until I succeeded, even with rain clouds gliding in across the Berwinne Valley.
This was an instance where a glimpse did not serve me well. My initial quick glances gave way to incremental cross elimination of each pillar. Even then I had to go back and inspect each pillar separately.
Until finally – Eureka! – after staring at a seal that had no state name designated on it at all, but was rather inscribed completely in Latin, I spotted the unique Maryland Flag within the seal … no other state has such a distinctive flag in my opinion.
Anyhow, it’s the 4th of July – my first such 4th not on American soil.