Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

So I was listening to a talk radio show Friday where the hosts were discussing their weekend pans. One of the hosts informed the listeners that he would be hitting up a big mattress sale, when the female host said "now see that's the problem with these commercial holidays, marketing whizzes keep creating them so they can force us to spend, spend, spend." The male host did not dispute her consumer driven comment and they moved forward with their radio show.

Is this really what American's believe? When did we become so apathetic? When did sales or money take precedence over our military personnel? What happened to the parades, the speeches, the patriotic music? What happened to spending time at a veteran's hospital or visiting veterans in a nursing home, listening to their stories, giving them a word of encouragement, even as so much as a hug or a kiss, thanking them for a job well done? Memorial Day is not about an extra long weekend, sales at the mall, barbecues, or drinking on the beach. It is about the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have given their lives to maintain the American way of life... It just makes me so soo sad to see this holiday just fall forgotten to commercialism and very few people nowadays take the time to honor our veterans. So many times, the veteran is left to be forgotten, given the shaft by an uncaring government, and it just breaks my heart.

To this date it is estimated that over 723,400 US service members have lost their lives in the Battles/Conflicts/Wars/Expeditions/Invasions fought to defend this great nation. I found it interesting to break down the "Conflicts" America has been involved in to really see the sacrifice that has been made.

American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) 8,000 deaths
War (1798–1800) 20 deaths
Barbary Wars (1801–1815) 35 deaths
Northwest Indian War (1785–1795) 1,221+ deaths

War of 1812 (1812–1815) 2,260 deaths

First Seminole War (1817–1818) 3045 deaths

Black Hawk War (1832) 60+ deaths

Second Seminole War (1835–1842) 328 deaths

Mexican–American War (1846–1848) 1,733 deaths

Third Seminole War (1855–1858) 26 deaths

Civil War: total (1861–1865) 212,938 deaths

Indian Wars (1865–1898) 919 deaths

Korean expedition (1871) 3 deaths

anish–American War (1898) 385 deaths
Philippine–American War (1898–1913) 1,020 deaths

Boxer Rebellion (1900–1901) 37 deaths

Mexican Revolution (1914–1919) 35+ deaths

Occupation of Haiti (1915–1934) 146 deaths

World War I (1917–1918) 53,402 deaths

Northern Russian Expedition (1918–1920) 424 deaths

American Expeditionary Force Siberia (1918–1920) 189 deaths

World War II (1941–1945) 291,557 deaths

China Cold War (1945–1947) 43 deaths

Korean War (1950–1953) 92,134 deaths

Russia Cold War (1950–1955) 32 deaths
China Cold War (1956) 16 de
Bay of Pigs Invasion (1961) 4 deaths

Vietnam War (1957–1973) 47,424 deaths

Invasion of Dominican Republic (1965–1966) 13 deaths

El Salvador Civil War (1980–1992) 9 deaths

Beirut deployment (1982–1984) 256 deaths

Persian Gulf escorts (1987–1988) 39 deaths

Invasion of Grenada (1983) 18 deaths
Invasion of Panama (1989) 23 deaths
Gulf War (1990–1991) 147 deaths

Somalia (1992–1993) 29 deaths
Haiti (1994–1995) 4 deaths

Bosnia-Herzegovina (1995–2004) 12 deaths

Kosovo (1999) 20 deaths

But more so in the front of my mind are those brave men and women who have died for this nation in the fight for terrorism, just in the past 9 years! On the Afghani front, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, 1,074 US service members have given their lives and in Iraq, as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 4,387 US service members have given the ultimate sacrifice.

So on that note, let me wish you a very happy Memorial Day. Take the time to honor all who have given their lives, and their families who were left behind. Think of the sacrifices they've given up to ensure our freedom, and think what our nation would be like if it were not for their brave service. Think of how good we have it compared to other war-torn nations, and what it would be like if we were cowering for our very lives, not knowing whether anyone was going to help us in our time of need.

In Flanders Fields

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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