Concepts of Sacrifice and Trauma in Australian War Commemoration
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The concept of sacrifice plays a significant role in commemorative ritual because it aids collective amnesia and the forgetting of war trauma. Collective amnesia is the product of several processes, both official and individual, which work to disguise aspects of war trauma represented in war memorial design and in the rituals accompanying war commemoration in memorial landscapes. Although many aspects of remembering and forgetting at war memorials exist in the present age, sacrifice is a concept still invoked to attach meaning to death in war. Although the major conflicts of the twentieth century have become more distant in time, trauma induced by war through the agency of postmemory is still disguised by the notion of sacrifice for the nation. As latter-day war memorials attempt to render different and more difficult aspects of war experience to those of the past, the concept of sacrifice continues to be evoked as a cover for the uncomfortable aspects of war remembrance.
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