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Thomas Conner program transcript.pdf

Thomas Conner, War and Remembrance: The Story of the American Battle Monuments Commission

Author Thomas Conner visits the Museum & Library to discuss the history and practice of the American Battle Monuments Commission.

To remember and honor the memory of the American soldiers who fought and died in foreign wars during the past hundred years, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) was established. Since the agency was founded in 1923, its sole purpose has been to commemorate the soldiers' service and the causes for which their lives were given. The twenty-five overseas cemeteries honoring 139,000 combat dead and the memorials honoring the 60,314 fallen soldiers with no known graves are among the most beautiful and meticulously maintained shrines in the world.

In the first comprehensive study of the ABMC, Thomas H. Conner traces how the agency came to be created by Congress in the aftermath of World War I, how the cemeteries and monuments the agency built were designed and their locations chosen, and how the commemorative sites have become important "outposts of remembrance" on foreign soil. War and Remembrance powerfully demonstrates that these monuments―living sites that embody the role Americans played in the defense of freedom far from their own shores―assist in understanding the interconnections of memory and history and serve as an inspiration to later generations.

THOMAS H. CONNER is the William P. Harris Professor of Military History at Hillsdale College. He has held a number of administrative positions along the way–Director of Admissions, Dean of the Faculty, History Department Chair, and Dean of Academic Division III. Conner was awarded the Harris Chair in Military History in 2006 and regularly teaches a course on the two World Wars. For forty years, he has made nearly annual visits to our country's overseas war memorials, often with groups of touring students. He's visisted such places as Normandy, Belleau Wood, and Verdun.

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