chapter  4
28 Pages

Commemorating the Dead

The incredible loss of life in World War I gave rise to many forms of monumental expression. The original German memory activists were the soldiers on active duty in Afghanistan who created their own makeshift memorial. When the first soldiers' memorial day was celebrated, in 2009, the dead were commemorated with religious services and with wreaths deposited at military monuments. No monument devoted exclusively to those killed in Afghanistan has been erected in any European country so far. The monuments discussed above all antedate the Afghanistan war. Even in Britain, where commemoration of the war dead remains an important part of official life, war memorials placed out of the public eye often end up as derelict, vandalised ruins. The political parties were well aware that the choice of date would resonate with historical significance and potential controversy. Bitter controversy over the Afghanistan war and its dead could have undermined official commemorations of the future.