A Reminder of What Binds Us

Victor Davis Hanson // National Review

In these divisive times, one constant for all Americans has been the hallowed work of the American Battle Monuments Commission, the small and sometimes unheralded federal agency created in 1923 to establish, operate, and oversee foreign cemeteries of American war dead, largely from the First and Second World Wars, as well as a number of commemorative sites.

I was a board member of the commission in 2008 and learned of its remarkable history and the American icons (John J. Pershing, George C. Marshall, Jacob Devers, Mark Clark, etc.) who have directed the commission. Now, Thomas Conner, the well-known military historian at Hillsdale College, has written the first history and comprehensive account of the commission — War and Remembrance: The Story of the American Battle Monuments Commission — how it originated, grew, and now cares for the graves of American war dead abroad. The result is a superb scholarly account that is riveting and again reminds us how much we owe to past generations, who envisioned and developed the unique commission, and who left to us, the current generation, to continue their sacred work.

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