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

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Susan-Mary Grant

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Abstract

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.


Publication metadata

Author(s): Grant S-M

Publication type: Article

Journal: Journal of War and Culture Studies

Year: 2011

Volume: 4

Issue: 3

Pages: 305-322

Print publication date: 08/12/2011

ISSN (print): 1752-6272

ISSN (electronic): 1752-6280

Publisher: Intellect

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/jwcs.4.3.305_1

DOI: 10.1386/jwcs.4.3.305_1


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