By Randy Snyder
Veterans Day is November 11. Memorial Day honors service members who died in service to their country or as a result of injuries incurred during battle or accidentally while serving. Deceased veterans are also remembered on Veterans Day, but the day is also set aside to thank and honor living veterans who served honorably in the military – in wartime or peacetime.
We can never do enough for those who have given a piece of their lives to serve their country as reflected in their time in the military. Never forget that their families including their spouses and children are struggling during this time which can be very stressful and financially challenging for the immediate family. They need to be recognized as well.
This tribute would not pay the profound respects it is meant to pass on without mentioning the shocking numbers of the military who have paid the ultimate sacrifice killed in action never to see their families again. Here are the staggering numbers by each war which heightens the awareness of the braveness of those that make the choice to serve:
The total loss of lives in the ten wars from the Civil war to the present Afghanistan and Iraq war still taking place with additional troops recently approved, is an astronomical 1,288,400!
Although the loss of lives of our military is by far the biggest loss to our country and our military families, the estimated financial loss by war and in total is also astounding.
(Figures are from the Congressional Research Service, courtesy of The Washington Post, 10 Sept. 2003)
- American Revolution: $3.2 billion.
- War of 1812: $1 billion.
- Mexican War: $1.8 billion.
- Civil War: $50 billion Union, $21.8 billion Confederacy.
- Spanish-American War: $6.5 billion.
- World War I: $588 billion.
- World War II: $4.8 trillion.
- Korean War: $408 billion.
- Vietnam War: $584 billion.
- Persian Gulf War of 1991: $82 billion. Contributions from U.S. allies ended up covering more than 90 percent of this war’s costs.
- Operation Iraqi Freedom: $197 billion, as of March 2006.
Without question, wars though the years lost lives and cost of trillions of dollars, both irreplaceable! However, notwithstanding is the celebration of those who have served and live among us today, and deserve to be recognized for that service as the vast majority served on their own volition despite the threat of their life which is inherit with volunteering. In a nation of 320 million, as of 2016, there were 1.3 Million active full time military and 800,000 reserves for a total of 2.1 million currently serving their country part or full time. Thus, less than 1% of our population is serving. 19.9 million veterans of the five branches, male and female combined, were estimated alive in Sept. 2017. Once again, this stat reflects that veterans who served are a small part, about 6%, of our total population.
This Veterans Day, find the time to pray for our military past and present, alive and departed. Freedom is not free, and the cost to make and keep America the strongest country in a dangerous world carries at a huge and insurmountable financial and human cost. Veteran’s Day is a great day to be a patriot, to show thanks. May that same love, pride and respect of country be proudly displayed each and every day!