Although the Secretary of War had pledged to bring all of the dead home back in 1917, in 1919 all space on ships was needed to bring the living home. A rousing disagreement then started up over what to do. Many felt that the dead should be buried in beautiful cemeteries in Europe, figuratively resting amongst their comrades. Congressional debate went back and forth with the final result being a Solomonic policy: the next of kin could choose whether to have their fallen buried in one of the new cemeteries in Europe, or they could have the remains returned to the U.S. and buried at the government’s expense. The result was that 30,922 were buried in the cemeteries and about 44,000 remains were repatriated.
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