French War Memorial Opts Out of Pokémon Go

Players would do well to remember to respect the dead.

The Douaumont ossuary. Courtesy of Paul Arps, via Wikimedia Commons.
The Douaumont ossuary. Courtesy of Paul Arps, via Wikimedia Commons.

The phenomena that is Pokémon Go continues, but not at a World War I memorial in northeast France. The Douaumont ossuary has been removed from the game, according to Agence France Presse.

The memorial honors those who lost their lives at one of the deadliest conflicts of the First World War: the Battle of Verdun. Some 300,000 French and German soldiers died on the field between February 21 and December 18, 1916, and the remains of 130,000 soldiers are at the ossuary.

The national cemetery also contains a 151-foot-tall tower designed by architects Léon Azéma, Max Edrei and Jacques Hardy, which features stained glass windows by George Desvallières and a two-ton bronze death-bell, called Bourdon de la Victoire.

The Douaumont ossuary. Courtesy of Dominique Salé, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Douaumont ossuary. Courtesy of Dominique Salé, via Wikimedia Commons.

In the original edition of Pokémon Go, the site contained both a Pokémon Gym, where players can do battle, and a Pokéstop, where they can collect Pokéballs and other objects to assist them in their quest to become a Pokémon Master. Niantic, which makes the game, has since removed both elements at the cemetery’s request.

Another gym at the nearby Verdun Memorial is still active, but spokesperson Emeline Villeseche told AFP it was not a problem because “we have no internet network here so the players cannot use it.”

It isn’t the first time Pokémon Go players have found themselves unwelcome: The game has also become a point of contention at the Holocaust Museum and Arlington National Cemetery, both in Washington, DC, and the 9/11 Memorial in New York. In their quest to catch ’em all, Pokémon Go players would do well to remember to respect the dead.


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