Bound Volume Number
Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Arts and Science
The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Social and Cultural Anthropology
The Florence American Cemetery and Memorial, located outside of Florence, Italy, is the final resting place of 4,402 American soldiers who died during World War II while fighting in the Tuscan region after the liberation of Rome in June 1944. In addition to those buried, 1,409 soldiers are commemorated on the Wall of the Missing. By joining the military, these men (and women) became a part of the larger military family. Such a process ensured that their individual identities would become intertwined with that of a collective military identity. However, it was their biological kin, the family that remained in the United States, who made the decision to have their loved ones remains buried abroad instead of returned home. By doing so, the biological family relinquished their ability to regularly visit and provide care for the dead. In the ensuing years, an adoptive family arose at the cemetery. Groundskeepers, cemetery supervisors, and local community members took on the role of day-to-day care that the biological family was unable to provide. During my time studying the cemetery, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II took place. Despite the passage of time, the deaths of these soldiers have not been forgotten. Rather, the existence of such sites as the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial has become ever more important as the number of those alive during World War II rapidly declines. This site acts as a link between the past and the present, a physical reminder of the scale of death and loss of life resulting from war.
Chmielewski, Christiana, "Collective and Individual Identities of Soldiers at the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial" (2016). Honors Capstone Projects - All. 972.
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