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On Veterans Day, people across America thank veterans and active-duty military personnel for their service.

But many members of the public don’t have a clear understanding of what service means to people in the military. How do they honor their own? What kind of spaces and activities help them reflect and remember beyond one day a year?


Katrina Finkelstein, a PhD student in geography at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and Derek H. Alderman, a professor of geography, recently discussed their research on commemorative places in the military for The Conversation.

Early this year, Finkelstein visited Camp Pendleton in California to research commemoration on Marine Corps bases and understand how active-duty Marines and veterans interact with those spaces. Rising 1,300 feet above the base, more than 30 crosses stand on a hillside at a memorial site established in 2003.

The hilltop is still used for physical training and events before and after deployments. Meanwhile, its informal commemorations have expanded and changed as active-duty service members and veterans develop a relationship with the space.


These ongoing “living” memorials can be especially meaningful for service members processing their experiences and remembering those they lost, physically representing the emotional weight they carry every day. Read the full article on The Conversation.

UT is a member of The Conversation, an independent source for news articles and informed analysis written by the academic community and edited by journalists for the general public. Through the partnership, we seek to provide a better understanding of the important work of our faculty.



Lindsey Owen (865-974-6375,