Sunday, May 29, 2011
Consider that "X" above. Think of it as a simple marker. A marker to represent the complexity of a single life.
Maybe yours. Perhaps your mother's? Your brother? Your sister? All the joy, hopes, even past accomplishments and future potential -- all represented very simply by a simple "X".
Using this simple label, your family, perhaps, (Dad, Mom, Sally, Jimmy, Lila) might be represented like this:
Or, your circle of friends might simply be represented this way:
Or, maybe your cheer squad...
Whatever. The point being that, just for a moment, pretend that each "X" is a point that represents a unique stream of life events. Each with a different history. Each with a different set of future possibilities. Each with different motivations, relationships, and sacrifices.
Now consider all of the people -- with aspirations and accomplishments just like you, me, your friends, your siblings -- who went away to another country so you and I could maintain our freedom and way of life. Only they didn't return.
The short clip above represents those who lost their lives in Operation Iraqi Freedom alone, since 2003 (1). But, as you know, there are more.
Similar sacrifices have played out in:
- Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan): 1,595 deaths (1)
- Persian Gulf War: 383 (2)
- Vietnam war: 58,220 deaths (2)
- Korean war: Over 36,574 deaths (2)
- World War II: 405,399 deaths (2)
- World War I: 116,516 deaths (2)
- U.S. Civil War: Over 365,000 deaths [Union only. See note (3)]
Remember Why We Have This Holiday
I'm sure you and your family have your way of remembering and memorializing our service members. For my part, posts like this are one way I memorialize and remember my friends and many others who went away in service of our country and didn't return.
But, no matter how it is we each choose to remember, I hope we do exactly that... Remember.
Spread the Word
Pass these thoughts along. At each gathering you participate in this weekend, take a moment to ask your friends to remember to say a few words of thanks for our service members. Because it is in their honor that you and I have the freedom to enjoy this weekend with family and friends.
(1) Source: icasualties.org
(2) Source: Congressional Research Service: American War and Military Operations Casualties Lists and Statistics, Feberuary 26, 2010.
(3) Union forces: 364,511. But, according to the American War and Military Operations Casualties Lists and Statistics, authoritative stats for Confederate forces weren't available. However, incomplete reporting indicated more than 160,000 Confederate deaths.
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