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War and Remembrance: The Story of the American Battle Monuments Commission

Publisher: University Press of Kentucky • Sep. 24, 2018 • 376 pages

No soldier could ask for a sweeter resting place than on the field of glory where he fell. The land he died to save vies with the one which gave him birth in paying tribute to his memory, and the kindly hands which so often come to spread flowers upon his earthly coverlet express in their gentle task a personal affection.“―General John J. Pershing

To remember and honor the memory of the American soldiers who fought and died in foreign wars during the past hundred years, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) was established. Since the agency was founded in 1923, its sole purpose has been to commemorate the soldiers’ service and the causes for which their lives were given. The twenty-five overseas cemeteries honoring 139,000 combat dead and the memorials honoring the 60,314 fallen soldiers with no known graves are among the most beautiful and meticulously maintained shrines in the world.

In the first comprehensive study of the ABMC, Thomas H. Conner traces how the agency came to be created by Congress in the aftermath of World War I, how the cemeteries and monuments the agency built were designed and their locations chosen, and how the commemorative sites have become important “outposts of remembrance” on foreign soil. War and Remembrance powerfully demonstrates that these monuments―living sites that embody the role Americans played in the defense of freedom far from their own shores―assist in understanding the interconnections of memory and history and serve as an inspiration to later generations.

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