U.S. Gov’t Shutdown Closes Monuments…in France?

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 2 2013 8:32 PM

U.S. Gov’t Shutdown Closes Monuments…in France?

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Former President George W. Bush pauses while visiting the American Cemetery at the Mont Valerien's resistance memorial in Surenes on June 14, 2008.

Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The two-day-old government shutdown has forced monuments and memorials in the U.S. to close, but in France? Apparently so.

Outside the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial, in the western outskirts of Paris, France 24 reports, a sign informs visitors “Due to the United States government shutdown, this site is closed to the public.” An American embassy spokesman in Paris confirmed the closure, but Suresnes isn’t the only site abroad to close its doors due to the shutdown, according to France 24. “The move affects some 20 cemeteries in France, Belgium, Britain, Italy, Tunisia and Mexico which serve as the final resting place for troops who died in landmark campaigns such as the Normandy D-Day landings, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) said on its website.”

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While it may come as a surprise that monuments abroad are operated by the U.S. government, according to the ABMC website, the commission is an agency of the executive branch established by Congress in 1923 charged with, in part, “designing, constructing, operating and maintaining permanent American cemeteries in foreign countries.” The commission operates 24 permanent U.S. military cemeteries and 25 memorial structures in 15 countries, according to the site.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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