The 's Article On The Subject Of Memorialisation, By Gavin Hughes And Jonathan Trigg

The 's Article On The Subject Of Memorialisation, By Gavin Hughes And Jonathan Trigg

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In their article on the subject of memorialisation, historians Gavin Hughes and Jonathan Trigg state the purpose of memorials as being a ‘potent and powerful symbol precisely because of its simplicity and instant familiarity.’ This is true for most of Britain as the First World War was the first time they had experienced loss of this scale and for the country as a whole it was crucial that there be a way for the millions of families affected to show their respect and to grieve. In 1916, the government forbade families to exhume bodies and bring them back to Britain, depriving them of any solid means of closure or acceptance. It was therefore the rise of memorials in their many shapes and forms that gave them the chance to grieve and to pay their respects to the thousands of dead. These memorials have changed in popularity over time; ones dating back to the Boer War are more likely to take the form of religious statues and crosses and ones from World War Two have resulted in numerous parks and schools under soldiers’ names. Furthermore, attitudes towards memorials have changed as the feelings of the country have changed. They have become more than a symbol of grief instead often being used for nationalism, patriotism, and other political movements.

The types of memorials and monuments that have been built over the last century have varied from war to war, ranging from crosses and other religious objects to more practical forms such as schools and benches. The United Kingdom National Inventory of War Memorials (UKNIWM) has spent the last few years attempting to collate all the memorials across Britain in order to compare the differences in forms of monuments. As they were collected they were sorted into four categories: figurative,...


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...iers second. This lead to communities pulling together to decide on an appropriate memorial and then donating money towards the building of the memorial. Over time, however, these private signs of grief were changed into symbols of national pride and worship and occasionally promoted by the government during anniversaries and new wars as what the country could do and what it sacrificed for the good of the country.

In conclusion, as more and more people who took part in the fighting during Second World War die, the attitude to memorials is likely to once again change as we lose the human contact to a war where so many people were lost. People invested their time and money into remembering a war that the country was taken into by their government and they hoped that the many memorials created for the thousands of people killed would be a caution for future conflicts.

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