War Dead, Disposition of

Since the American Civil War, the disposition of the war dead has been a matter of considerable importance to Americans in and out of uniform, with military authorities taking great care to recover, identify, and inter the fallen, as Americans more generally have made them central to their conversations about war. As preeminent symbols of the risks and rewards of military service and national belonging, the war dead have been used to glorify and condemn war, to soothe and enflame wartime antagonisms, and to expand and restrict routes to full American citizenship. They have lent themselves to powerful revisions of the nation’s principles, as in the Gettysburg Address, and inspired its most visited national shrines, such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the ...

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