American Monument at Brest!

This is what I meant when I say Brittany in general still has a lot of off the beaten path sites not visited by most. Brest is a great city with plenty to see and heck one of the best Chrismas markets in Brittany and we often here. Lots of better known monuments too.

However, if you come by car like we do, upon entering the city by the wharfs you will a huge tower on the hill. This is the American Monument or Naval Monument of Brest. I like to tell you a bit more about it.

Brest

The Naval Monument, more commonly called the Pink Tower, is an American Memorial erected at the Cours Dajot in Brest, dept 29 of the Finistére in Brittany; to recall the action of the American Navy in Europe during WWI. Destroyed by the Nazis during the occupation, it was rebuilt identically in 1958.

Brest

The Pink Tower was designed from 1930 to 1932, and inaugurated in 1937. Located roughly in the middle of the Cours Dajot, resting on the side of the rampart dominating the port of Commerce, the Memorial consists of a square tower in pink granite of 44 meters high or 30.5 meters (100 feet) from the cours Dajot. In front there is an esplanade and a public garden. The whole is owned by the Government of the United States but does not benefit from extraterritoriality as commonly the case in American cemeteries in Europe ,due to the fact there is no one buried at it.

Brest

my family at American Monument

At its base, on its north-west side (Esplanade side) and south-east side ( Avenue Salaun Penquer) is inscribed, “Erected by the United States of America to commemorate the achievements of the naval forces of the United States and France during WWI”.

BRest

Inside the Pink Tower, not open to the public, a staircase allows access to a small platform about 30 meters in height. The interior It is said of no particular interest except a letter from President Eisenhower, written while he was President of the United States at the time of the inauguration of its reconstruction, which was deposited there. The monument is owned by the American government and managed by the American Battle Monuments Commission and it is the American military cemetery of St. James (in the South of the Manche Dept 50) which is responsible for its maintenance.

Brest

The US Navy has been active in the conflict since the United States entered the war on 6 April 1917 and the creation of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), the American Expeditionary Corps which it conveyed in Europe until the repatriation of the last American soldiers in 1919, several months after the Armistice.

The American Battle Monuments Commission therefore decided to erect a memorial to commemorate this action of the American Navy in European waters. Brest was chosen because the Breton port was the headquarters of the American naval forces in Europe during the war and the main place of landing and re boarding of the American troops. Of the 2 million members of the AEF, more than 700 000 arrived by Brest. It was also via Brest that the President of the United States, Woodrow Wilson, arrived in Europe in 1919.

The Pink Tower was destroyed by the Nazis during the occupation on July 4 1941 and they built a bunker at its location. The purpose of this destruction could be to deprive the British aviators who used the tower and the Portzic lighthouse as an alignment for their bombing. After the war, in 1958, the tower was rebuilt identically, on the bunker, slightly shifted in relation to its original location, and inaugurated on July 16, 1960.

Some webpages to help you enjoy your visit here are

American Battle Monuments Commission on the Pink Tower

Tourist office of Brest on heritage

Tourist office of the Finistére dept 29 on Brest heritage

Tourist office of Brittany on heritage of Brest

There you go,so on your next trip to Brest…upon sighting the castle marine museum go across the park into the esplanade overlooking the port of Commerce and even from the castle museum you will see the Pink Tower. Go see it and read it. Hope it helps

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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