What do Americans hold sacred and to what lengths will we go to preserve, protect, and pay homage? The people and events we commemorate and those we choose to ignore or sideline are a reflection of who we are as a society. The United States is experiencing political turmoil and our monuments have become rallying points. Regional identities in America are in conflict as we try to define our collective identity while still maintaining our sense of independence. Historically, most protected relics have been religious, so what are the relics of secular America? Relics are imbued with power, myths are born, and the earth becomes sacred. Are all monuments sacred? Do we venerate Stonewall Jackson’s arm as we do the reliquary arm of Saint Innocent? I am traveling the United States and documenting the monuments and the relics we protect, those who keep them safe, and the pilgrims who venerate them.
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