Today is Memorial Day in America! The day is designated to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice serving our nation. I, a Vietnam veteran, and a Christian take immense pride in remembering those who gave their lives for the cause of freedom. Some of them volunteered for military service and others were conscripted and pressed into service, but the link is THEY SERVED! They loved America and Freedom enough to place their lives on the line. For their service and sacrifice, I say THANK YOU and I SALUTE YOU!
Failing to remember is a tragedy, but in our modern society, we have become more focused on self than service. It makes me sad to realize that Memorial Day, a Day of Remembrance and Gratitude, has become nothing more than a long weekend for many. I am saddened by the reality that too few appreciate, understand, or value the sacrifices those fallen heroes of the past made.
I realize that many view all war or at least some of the wars we have engaged in as anathema and evil, but those who served did so out of love for the country, family, and freedom. Those who answered the call of their country, deserve honor and recognition. They deserve the recognition our World War Veterans received. It should be remembered that their service protected the right of individuals to live free and vocalize their views, beliefs, and convictions. I pray that we never let that change.
With respect to the sacrifices of the many who gave their lives in our armed services, I want to share some statistical data. This data is from one of many sources and I realize that all do not agree with the totals. I use the ones that seemed most reliable to me. I do not have the data for the first responders, and other individuals who gave their lives for America and freedom in their service, but I do not forget them. I say to the fallen, regardless of what service they were providing, THANK YOU!
CASUALTIES OF WAR…
The data I gleaned included both the numbers of deaths in combat and from disease or other causes. Some wars did not provide that data so I can offer no report. It is my view that most of these numbers are low estimates and the real numbers are higher. I cannot prove or verify that but it is what I believe.
Revolutionary War Combat – 6,800 Disease – 17,000
War of 1812 Combat – 2,260 Disease – 12,740
Mexican American War 1846 Combat – 1,733 Disease – 11,550
Civil War Combat – 650,000
Indian Wars Combat – 1,000
Spanish American War Combat – 385 Disease – 2,000
WW I Combat – 53,402 Disease – 63,114
WW II Combat – 998,568 Disease – 348,338
Korean War Combat – 33,739 Disease – 20,617
Vietnam War Combat – 58,479+
Gulf War Combat – 383
Iraq & Afghanistan Combat – 5,364 Disease – 1,476
Those numbers indicate that we have lost over two million in war. Each of those lives was snuffed out too early and their families were robbed of what life might have been, had they lived. War is horrific and as it has been said, “War is Hell.”
We also have statistical data from our own government that 624,000 veterans are dying each year. Many of those deaths can be tracible to their involvement in war. The over two million war deaths do not account for the fatalities directly connected to the various conflicts. There is no reliable statistical data regarding the chemical agents such as Agent Orange from Vietnam or other weapons of destruction used in the wars.
This does not include the horrific nightmares identified as PTSD, opioid or alcohol addictions resulting from the inability to free the mind of the horrors of war. We have many walking wounded living in death daily as a result of war. The hell they live in is beyond belief but very real. Their sacrifice must not be forgotten.
I experience both deep sadness and rage when I think of how our government and others have and do treat our veterans. When I read statistical data regarding expenditures on caring for illegals and giving funds to foreign nations that hate us. The Bible says, in 1 Timothy 5:8 – “Anyone (that would include a nation) who does not provide for his own (that would include veterans), and especially those of his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.”
I experience both deep sadness and rage when former military, especially combat veterans, are classified as domestic terrorists and needful of being monitored simply because they served in war and know how to use firearms. Most of those veterans want to live peacefully and would like to forget the horrors they saw and experienced. They are willing to serve and protect even those who regard them with contempt. They love freedom and know the value of our inalienable rights. They should be saluted and thanked not degraded and viewed with contempt.
On this Memorial Day, I pray that each one will take a moment to reflect on what we have enjoyed in America for almost 2 ½ centuries. This day is not for those of us who served that is Veteran’s Day in November. This day is to remember and honor the memories of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice and protected freedom. They deserve to be remembered with dignity and pride. You may hate war but please do not hate those who served, they served not just for themselves but for everyone else. Their sacrifice is worthy of remembrance and gratitude.
The reality is that we have lost millions either in combat on the battlefield or indirectly as a result of wounds, exposure, or addictions attempting to escape the memories they endured. Suicides, overdoses, medical issues, economic issues, moral issues, social difficulties, and spiritual emptiness are far too common among combat veterans. I include them in my remembrance of those who died in war! To all our warriors, the living wounded, and those who died, I say THANK YOU! Without your sacrifice, we would not be Free!
I do not say Happy Memorial Day for it is not a Happy Day except in the sense that we are still Free! For me, it is a somber day, a day of reflection and remembrance. It is a day of gratitude and a day I am determined to give Honor to those deserving of Honor so long as I live. To the Fallen I stand and give a slow Salute and say a heartfelt – THANK YOU!
God bless you and God bless America!