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The idea of honoring soldiers who died in action in a particular war or engagement was relatively new, a Prussian invention, dating from 1793. Wars have always taken an emotional and family toll throughout history, making it understandable for society to seek an activity that would be compensating, at least to a degree.
War memorials usually express words of honor and respect for those who served, and especially for those who died by making mention of how they patriotically sacrificed their lives to the restoration of peace and harmony and by offering a token of a country's appreciation for the magnitude of the sacrifice made by soldiers for the citizens of the country. The memorial is expected to outlive and outlast the changes of time and seasons.
Patriotism as a virtuous and most highly commendable purpose in life has always been extolled to the maximum degree. The deaths of soldiers are thus justified, and the next generation should be prepared to die if an equivalent great cause materializes. The lasting value of the sacrifice is emphasized in war memorials and commemorations, asserting that benefits will flow to future generations. Those who died gave their lives for the benefit of posterity.
Memorials promote the healing process by providing an opportunity for family members and others to join together and participate in a ritual. A memorial may take many forms, from a simple tree planting to a more traditional "service." In addition, war memorials and commemorations give permission and legitimacy to the process of grieving and also may mark the beginning of a return to some semblance of normalcy in the daily routines of life.