American Memorials and the Politics of Memory

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In the post-September 11 United States, public memory has taken on heightened social importance. Plans for several September 11 memorials are well under way, and the public recollection and commemoration of the events of September 11 have taken on a large role in American political discourse. Why does the American public feel the need to commemorate sacrifice, and why is there a debate over the proper form of public memory?