Overseas military cemeteries as American sacred space: Mine eyes have seen la gloire

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The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) maintains twenty-three cemeteries worldwide for American soldiers and war workers killed in the Great War and World War II. This article examines ABMC cemeteries as American sacred space, foregrounding their fusion of Christian and American symbol and text and the barely submerged theologies and mythologies to which they point. ABMC cemeteries have given families of fallen soldier's places to mourn and remember. They have also served as spaces for the United States to tell all comers of the righteousness of the American soldier and the saving power of dying while fighting for the United States. Compelling as these memorial landscapes are, the sacred narratives they construct are often in subtle but real tension with the histories they contain and conceal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-215
Number of pages32
JournalMaterial Religion
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • America
  • Christianity
  • Military cemeteries
  • Sacred space
  • Soldiers
  • War memorials

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Religious studies


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