Bury Me Not

Where Have All the Graveyards Gone?
The War That Didn’t End War and Its Unending Successors
By Adam Hochschild  (*)

What if, from the beginning, everyone killed in the Iraq and Afghan wars had been buried in a single large cemetery easily accessible to the American public? Would it bring the fighting to a halt more quickly if we could see hundreds of thousands of tombstones, military and civilian, spreading hill after hill, field after field, across our landscape?

I found myself thinking about this recently while visiting the narrow strip of northern France and Belgium that has the densest concentration of young men’s graves in the world. This is the old Western Front of the First World War. Today, it is the final resting place for several million soldiers. Nearly half their bodies, blown into unrecognizable fragments by some 700 million artillery and mortar shells fired here between 1914 and 1918, lie in unmarked graves; the remainder are in hundreds upon hundreds of military cemeteries, still carefully groomed and weeded, the orderly rows of headstones or crosses covering hillsides and meadows.

Stand on a hilltop in one of the sites of greatest slaughter -- Ypres, the Somme, Verdun -- and you can see up to half-a-dozen cemeteries, large and small, surrounding you. In just one, Tyn Cot in Belgium, there are nearly 12,000 British, Canadian, South African, Australian, New Zealander, and West Indian graves.

FROM www.tomdispatch.com
Deep into his archives…for fullness of this essay...

 (*)  Hochschild, one of this website's all-time heroes; co-founded
Mother Jones; picketed against the Vietnam war; was a pad-and-pencil
reporter before he became a graduate-level journalism professor at
UC Berkeley.

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