Constructing a commemorative culture: American veterans and memorialization from Valley Forge to Vietnam

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  2. Professor Susan-Mary Grant
Author(s)Grant S-M
Publication type Article
JournalJournal of War and Culture Studies
ISSN (print)1752-6272
ISSN (electronic)1752-6280
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Ever since Philippe Ariès identified the First World War as the conflict that witnessed the peak of the ‘civic cult of the dead,’ scholars have tended to interpret the response to death in battle in the context of that ‘war to end all wars.’ In the case of the United States, the militarised commemorative culture that lies at the heart of its national identity has a personal and political resonance, expressed through a combination of public ceremonial constructions and practices and personal published narratives. Together these comprise the commemorative response both to the dead of war and surviving veterans. This response is designed to contain and control the death resulting from warfare, and one that, although developed in the context of nineteenth-century conflict, clearly prefigured the development of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century European military commemorative ritual which, in turn, influenced the evolution of commemoration in the twentieth-century United States.
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