To a lot of people, Memorial Day is just another day off – classically filled with picnics, family gatherings and socialization. To others, the day got confused with Veterans Day and they see it as a chance to honor those who served – whether they are here with us or not. But in reality, Memorial Day was created as a day to remember the men and women who died in war. No matter what your stance is on war, if you live in the U.S.A. then your life is touched by it in so many ways. I would rather have peace in my life, but the nature of humans is not so. We always seem to seek out and create conflict no matter what. The men and women who serve in our military go into combat KNOWING that they are putting themselves at risk. Unless you have served, I don’t think there is any way to understand how that affects a person’s psyche. No, I haven’t served myself – so I am talking from the standpoint of a layman. However, my life has been interwoven with many people who served in our military – from my Dad to my friends – and I would have been a fool if I didn’t see the way it impacted them.
According to numbers I found on the web, the following represents approximate losses of American soldiers:
58,226 – Vietnam War
36,576 – Korean War
408,306 – WWII
117,000 – WWI
620,000 – Civil War
Realizing that the majority of these losses were men, as women didn’t serve in the armed forces until relatively recently – would it really hurt people to muster up the respect to remember roughly 1,246,021 American soldiers? My statistics don’t even begin to include the other nations that have been affected by war. This is only for the United States – a place that I, at least, proudly call my home.
Before I get off my cyber pedestal, I’m going to leave you with a few other thoughts. The people who died, that we should memorialize, for the most part didn’t die pretty. As a regular girl I have hard time putting my mind around what they must have gone through, as not everyone died instantly. I urge you, if you haven’t already done so – to watch “Restrepo” (http://restrepothemovie.com/) which depicts a year in Afghanistan. Many of us these days are blind to what is happening, we skip over it in the news. Occasionally we might repost something on Facebook, but this war going on now is just as much a part of our world as Vietnam, Korean, and the World Wars.
So I encourage each of you to take a few moments and remember those that have died serving the nation during war. Let us not forget why they did what they did.