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Cemeteries, Military

The 19th century witnessed the establishment of military cemeteries. The horror of modern, industrialized warfare and the ability of bureaucratic nationstates to field vast armies necessitated the creation of public spaces specifically dedicated to honoring the fallen. Military (or national) cemeteries often occupy picturesque locations (like the bluffs overlooking Omaha Beach in Normandy, France) and are usually designed with the object of creating a contemplative or reverent atmosphere. The grave markers themselves—often unremarkable and uniform white marble stones or religious symbols—project an egalitarian image of war dead that serves to highlight the sacrifices of common soldiers and obscure differences in rank. Modern military cemeteries are also significant cultural artifacts that have been used to forge a sense of national unity. Out of common sacrifice, ...

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