Thomas Chambers: Monuments to vets long overdue

Historians in the News

ALBANY, N.Y. — When Americans gather Sunday at war memorials, battle monuments and military cemeteries to honor the nation's veterans, it may appear to some that such places have existed since the United States was founded 236 years ago.

Not so, says the author of a newly published book that details the nation's belated, haphazard approach to establishing formal memorials, monuments and marked burial sites for veterans of its earliest wars.

In his book, "Memories of War: Visiting Battlegrounds and Bonefields In The Early American Republic" (Cornell University Press), Thomas Chambers writes that it was well into the 19th century before Americans seriously began considering marking Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields with monuments and memorials, and how in some instances the skeletal remains of the fallen remained unburied for decades....

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