Essay on Commemorating the Soldier Who Gave His Life For His Country

Essay on Commemorating the Soldier Who Gave His Life For His Country

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"How were the corpses disposed of and to what extent were these men commemorated and remembered?" This is the central focus of the article, Trophies and Tombstones: Commemorating the Roman Soldier which is written by Valerie M. Hope in 2003. The subject matter, while strange, is something that unbeknownst to most is a prevalent and well thought out subject in the military of today. How are our burial traditions different from those of centuries ago, what could have possibly brought about these changes, and what exactly is the process that takes place?

"At the outset it is worth recalling that war cemeteries, with individually marked graves, are a fairly recent introduction to Western Europe -. The ultimate fate of a soldier killed at Waterloo in 1815 was little different from that of a Roman soldier: both shared anonymous interment in a mass grave. " (Hope, 2003) Already the differences are prevalent between current practices and former. While mass grave sites are common in the modern era, they are known as cemeteries, each site is marked with the individuals name, and they are not lost to anonymity. "The tendency to name the dead individually on communal war memorials at battle sites or in the hometown is a feature of the modern age" (McIntyre 1990; King 1998) That is not to say that Rome did not acknowledge the soldiers lost, but to say that they did not acknowledge the individual; however, they acknowledged the battle through the use of "arches and columns adorned with classical imagery (Borg 1991: 59-67). This creates a possibility that modern-era armies practice what was done in the past. The Vietnam Wall, the World War Two Memorial, and the Korean War Memorial are in essence the same concept; however, with a twist. ...


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...e suffering not just on the front lines, but the home front as well. The Journal by Valerie Hope, brought to us the facts and gave insight into the motivations behind burials. Its acknowledged that while expedient and cost effective the casual placement of mass graves does not honor the dead who fought, but just saves money for the government. If someone fights for a cause, their resting place is just as important as any battle that could have been fought.




Works Cited


Borg, A. 1991. War Memorials, from Antiquity to the Present. London

Hope, Valerie. "Trophies and Tombstones: Commemorating the Roman Soldier. "World Archaeology. no. 1 (2003): 79-97.

King, A. 1998. Memorials of the Great War in Britain: The Symbolism and Politics of Remembrance. Oxford: Berg.

McIntyre, C. 1990. Monuments of War: How to Read a War Memorial. London: Robert Hale.

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