The history of Memorial Day is one that is quite perplexing when tracing it back. Many different towns throughout the north and south claim some type of heritage to the founding of the day. There are those who would like to argue about it’s confederate vs union roots as well. I would challenge you to not be caught up in the heritage other than what really matters.
On June 28, 1968, Congress enacted the Uniform Monday Holiday act that officially established Memorial Day as a national holiday. The first official Memorial Day was celebrated nearly 3 years later in 1971. Memorial Day is set aside in remembrance of those who gave their life in the US Armed Forces. As I sit back and reflect on those who gave their life, I ran across a post from the VA which describes those who made the ultimate sacrifice in war. In light of that post, I want to dig a little deeper into the numbers.
Listed first is the American Revolution from 1775 – 1783. A total of 4,435 made the ultimate sacrifice so you and I can both live in a country where we are free. Since that time, thousands of deaths are listed in the various wars such as the War of 1812, the Indian Wars, Mexican War, Civil War, and the Spanish American War. Next comes World War 1 and World War 2. In World War 1 we responded to Germany attacking US ships and citizens by sinking ships. Over 53,000 made the ultimate sacrifice in World War 1. After the attack on US Troops at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the US became involved in World War 2. Total US military deaths at Pearl Harbor totaled 2,335 and total deaths in World War 2 totaled 291,557.
In total, from 1775 through 1991, total US Military deaths in battle and in theater totaled 959,831. The VA does not list total deaths from the Global War on Terror as it is considered multiple conflicts that are still underway. It refers you to a page called the Defense Casualty Analysis System where you can review totals from each conflict.
We may disagree over many of the instances of the wars in various circumstances. One thing we can’t disagree on is that these individuals gave their lives because they believed in the United States, believed in our cause and believed in freedom for all. Everyday that I wake up in the greatest country on earth, I owe it to these brave soldiers that gave the ultimate sacrifice to give me freedom and to protect my freedom.
On this Memorial Day, we remember their sacrifice and pray for those who have lost loved ones as part of this sacrifice. God bless the United States of America!
You can contact JD through the Liberty Loft website or follow JD on Twitter.