After the Great War, America witnessed a swift change in the symbolism displayed on monuments and memorials. Civil War public art and statues mainly focused on glorious leaders or specific units at the site that garnered them their most achievement as a military unit. Furthermore, urban centers in both the North and South erected memorials for the citizens from those communities that rose to the occasion and fought for the cause--whatever that may be. Recent debates over the Lost Cause in the South's collective memory recapitulate social, cultural, and political implications that continue to cause strife in American society. With a change in the way that Americans come to terms with the war dead, World War I memorials shift the memory from honoring heroic actions of a unit to memorializing the dark deeds of those that never made it home. Since many Americans died in the French fields, their remains never made it back to the United States for a proper burial, to achieve the same recognition as conflicts that erupted on American soil.

As American's realized that the bodies of dead U.S. soldiers were to remain in the burial grounds and overturned battlefield trenches overseas, memorials that either listed the names of deceased or dedicated to the soldiers that died abroad, began to spring up around the United States.

By John R. Legg