Sunday, May 24, 2015

In memoriam

Tomorrow is Memorial Day.  The day we remember our honored dead.  It was originally a remembrance of the end of our nation's most bloody conflict so far - the Civil War.  An estimated one in four soldiers were lost in that war (most to disease).  Around 620,000 men -  two percent of the nation's population - died in uniform in four bloody years.  Think about that - that would require 6 million deaths today.  The South was estimated to have lost one man in every ten.

The Civil War ended 150 years ago this month.  We don't even have any of the children of the veterans left any more to directly carry on their stories.

This is also the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII in Europe.  We lost around 405,000 men during those four bloody years.  Two-thirds as many as during the Civil War.  At least we weren't shooting at each other.

Civil war battles were bloody.  Unimaginably so to today's generation of casualty-averse leaders.  The one-day battle of Antietam Creek/Sharpsburg cost around 6,000 lives (total on-the-spot and died of wounds).  The battle of D-Day (Normandy, France) on June 6th, cost around 4,400 Allied lives - American, Canadian, and British.  The horrific battle for Iwo Jima lasted over a month, and cost 6,800 lives.  The three days of Gettysburg cost 51,000 lives.

Remember them, and what they died fighting for.  Freedom is not free, but is purchased in blood.  It levies a price that must be ever renewed, lest it be lost.

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