Abstract

For architects of citizenship and nationhood, there is no shortage of conflicts and wars from which to build modern myths about submerging individual suffering and loss to greater causes. The grief, anger, and despair of individuals can be integrated over time into collectively shared assumptions about the indebtedness of the living to their heroic compatriots and ancestors. To remember these conflicts and those who (depending on the political context) either “lost” or “gave” their lives has been throughout recent history a vital act of citizenship, both “affirming the community at large and asserting its moral character” (Winter 1995, 85). Certainly from an American perspective, national identity remains “inexorably intertwined with the commemoration and memory of past wars” (Piehler 1995, 3). This observation applies even more intensely elsewhere in the world (e.g., Russia, China, France, Japan) where the loss of combatant and civilian life has been far greater.

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