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War and RemembranceThe Story of the American Battle Monuments Commission$
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Thomas H. Conner

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813176314

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813176314.001.0001

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Remembrance Begins, 1919–1923

Remembrance Begins, 1919–1923

From the End of the Great War to the Creation of the American Battle Monuments Commission

(p.15) 1 Remembrance Begins, 1919–1923
War and Remembrance

Thomas H. Conner

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter looks at the establishment of the ABMC and the history of American cemeteries and monuments in Europe. During the First World War, in a span of about seven months, America left more than 75,000 American soldiers dead in Europe. Torn between bringing the soldiers home and the expense of doing so, the U.S. government allowed the families to decide the fates of their fallen loved ones. Two parties arose from the controversy over whether the fallen soldiers should be brought home or left in American cemeteries abroad. The “Bring Home the Soldier Dead League” wanted the former, and the “Field of Honor Association” wanted the latter. Most of the soldiers’ bodies were shipped home to America, but in 1920-1921, eight permanent cemetery sites were designated in Europe: Suresnes, Romagne, Belleau Wood, Bony, Brookwood, Fère-en-Tardenois, Thiaucourt, and Waregem. In addition to the American cemeteries, it was also decided that American monuments would be erected in Europe. General Pershing emerged as the “chief of national remembrance” for the United States, and the first chairman of the ABMC.

Keywords:   ABMC, Belleau Wood, Battle Monuments Board, General Pershing, John McAuley Palmer, Romagne, Suresnes, US government, Waregem

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