Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Probably the best-known cenotaph in the modern world is the one that stands in Whitehall, London. It was constructed from Portland stone between 1919-1920 by Sir Edwin Lutyens to replace an identical plaster cenotaph erected in 1919 for the Allied Victory Parade. It is undecorated save for a carved wreath on each end and the words "The Glorious Dead". It is flanked on each side by the flags of the United Kingdom, the Royal Navy, the British Army, the Royal Air Force and the Merchant Navy. The Cenotaph is the site of the annual national service of remembrance held at 11 a.m. on the closest Sunday to the 11th November (Armistice Day). Uniformed service personnel always salute the Cenotaph as they pass - it was, for example, very noticeably the only salute made by the Royal Horse Artillery driver of Diana, Princess of Wales's funeral carriage during the procession (on this occasion he did not even salute the Queen).
Many cenotaphs exist elsewhere in the world. The erection of cenotaphs was a common tradition in ancient times (such as in Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and empty Neolithic barrows in Northern Europe) and the practice is still continued around the world. Lutyens' cenotaph influenced the design of many other war memorials in Britain and the British sectors of the Western Front. The monument to John F. Kennedy in Dealey Plaza in Dallas is often described as a cenotaph. A building intended to serve as a tomb for Abraham Lincoln on the Mall in Washington, D. C. is literally a cenotaph, as he is not buried there, but rather in his beloved Springfield, Illinois; however, as this building is now used for the headquarters of the American Pharmaceutical Association , it is not usually thought of as such.
The cenotaph concept is by no means confined to Europe. One of the most famous non-European examples is the concrete Memorial Cenotaph at the Hiroshima Peace Park, designed by Kenzo Tange to commemorate the 200,000 victims of the August 1945 atomic bomb attack.
Cenotaphs have also been the subject of a number of famous paintings, notably The Cenotaph to Reynold's Memory (John Constable, c. 1833), Elevation for Newton's Cenotaph, Perspective (Etienne-Louis Boullée , c. 1785), and The Cenotaph of Jean Jacques Rousseau (Hubert Robert, 1794).
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