After reading pages 154 through 182 of “War the American Way” I realized there is more to accomplish after a war than just providing assistance for veterans. Don’t be mistaken, providing for the men and women who served their country is very important. It is neccessary has to ensure that the war was not fought in vain. They must create ceremonies and monuments that guarantee that the lessons learned from the war will be passed down to the generations of the future. Also, most importantly, the Government must also try and heal the wounds of war by adjusting the emotions and thoughts that accompany the war. At the end of the reading, it emphasized that ritual and tradition is vital to every nation-state and it is at the peril of the nation if a country disregards those two important factors. Creating ceremonies and monuments to commemorate wars plays a very significant role in shaping our traditions and our sense of common identity and it should not be taken lightly.
For the most part it isn’t taking lightly. The U.S. Government is pretty strict about how monuments come to be and it is a very difficult task filled with debate. The commission of fine arts and the American Battle Monuments commission make sure that the monument being made reflects what should be remembered. Some might see it as not telling the whole truth and I agree with that but it is important to respect those who fought and provide the future generations who will see the monument to learn the right lesson and be inspired by it. The whole issue of the Korean War monument is an example of this because at the time people wanted the monument to make the soldiers look like victims. You could argue that they were victims but it is not the debate people need to remember, it is the service and the sacrifice of the soldiers. The Vietnam War memorial was beautifully done and delivered the message that the war represented. Whether you agreed with the war or not, seeing the walls with all of the names of the fallen soldiers showed the great amount of sacrifice that comes with war no matter how popular or unpopular. Monuments and ceremonies are very important in setting the legacy of the wars and should be handled with care.