We lost 36,574 soldiers in the Korean War. 58,220 in Vietnam. 116,516 in World War 1 and 405,399 in World War 2.
Another important metric in helping us understand the impact of each of those 4 wars as was felt in our hometown communities, is to consider the percentage of America’s population at that time that were lost. In Korea .02% of Americans gave their lives. It was .03% in Vietnam. This jumped to .13% in WW I and .31% in WW II. [i]
We lost more than all four of those wars combined in the Civil War. We lost 618,000 American lives in that conflict that tried to rip our nation apart. A staggering 1.9% of our population at the time was lost in the fight.[ii] In addition to the 618,000 military lives lost, unlike every other war mentioned, all the estimated 50,000 civilian related deaths were American citizens as well.[iii]
Following the significant cost of the Civil War, the idea of Memorial Day began to take shape. In 1868, just three years after the Civil War had ended, a Union General (John A. Logan) promoted a day of remembrance for those who had given their lives in battles.
Though Memorial Day as we now know it, would not become an official Federal Holiday until 1971, it has been recognized since at least 1868 and possibly a bit before.
Think About it
Memorial Day has been modified and watered down to reflect every people group imaginable. It is set aside to acknowledge and remember American soldiers who died in battle or from wounds, injury or illness sustained in battle. It is a day to honor those who died for our freedoms.
Crime is an insult to the freedoms they died for. When one commits a crime, it is an eroding undercurrent threatening those freedoms. That process is visible and tangible in gun crime. When someone commits a crime with a gun, all the clapping seals line up behind some political motivation to strip American’s of their 2nd Amendment rights.
But any crime, regardless of the details, is a similar attack on our freedoms. Crime is selfish. Freedom fought for is unselfish. Freedom enjoyed is a gift.
As defenders, we expect people to not act criminally. Honor our freedoms by appreciating the cost by which it came.
Don’t disrespect that cost. Not on Memorial Day or any other day.
[i] Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense
[ii] Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense
[iii] National Park Service quoting Civil War historian James McPherson