Battlefield Cross

Battlefield Cross (Public domain)

Memorial Day is traditionally a day of grilling, NASCAR, beer, friends, and family, but before we fire up the Weber and crack open a cold one, let’s reflect on how we got here. Across the years, men and women fought and died to give us the freedom to enjoy today. Hopefully, these statistics will put some perspective on and, hopefully, some reverence about why we celebrate Memorial Day.

– Revolutionary War: 4400 lost
– War of 1812: 2300 lost
– Mexican-American War: 13,200
– Civil War: 498,900 lost
– Spanish-American War: 2400
– World War I: 116,500 lost
– World War II: 405,500 lost
– Korean War: 53,200 lost
– Vietnam War: 58,000 lost
– Persian Gulf War: 1900 lost
– Afghanistan War: 2300 lost
– Iraq War: 4500 lost

Our total loss of American blood and treasure surpasses 1.1 million souls – a staggering number who laid down their lives so that we can have the freedoms we hold dear. We live in contentious times, and amid all of the noise and action, it’s days like this, we owe them to be grateful and thankful for their sacrifice. So to all those we’ve lost, and to those we will, sadly, lose in the future, I say, “Thank You!”

Statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs (through 1991).