Numbers rule the world. As the saying goes, if you can’t measure it, you can’t change it. Polls, surveys, financial reports, stock prices, statistics…we are bombarded on all sides, on a daily basis, to the point where we become numb to them. But the ones that normally do get our attention are the large numbers…Those have impact. And in so doing, we lose sight of the significance of the “1”s that make those numbers what they are.
Not so with Memorial Day. Memorial Day is all about the “1’s”.
There have been more than 1,264,336 “1’s” who have given their lives for their country since the Revolutionary War. Each one started as an innocent baby. Each one was a son or daughter. Each one had dreams and desires. Each one had their struggles. And each one was a soul created by God.
Stand For Vets new mission is to provide support to veterans transitioning from military service who may have a difficult time adjusting to the civilian world. Support that could last up to a year. Why? Because an average of 20 (that is 20…”1”s) are committing suicide each day. This is unacceptable because the “1”’s matter to us. We want to save them…one at a time.
This Memorial Day, let us take a moment to remember all the lives that were cut short, in service to their country. Remember the families that were impacted, the dreams that never were, and at least once per year, let us remember them as individuals. That would be the highest honor.
We lose the impact of one life in the:
(See below for Fatalities from U.S. Wars and Conflicts)
- American Revolution (1775-1783) 4,435
- War of 1812 (1812-1815) 2,260
- Mexican War (1846-1848) 13,283
- Civil War (1861-1865) 620,000
- Spanish-American War (1898-1902) 385
- World War I (1917-1918) 116,516
- World War II (1941-1945) 405,399
- Korean War (1950-1953) 36,574
- Vietnam War (1964-1975) 58,220
- Gulf War (1990-1991) 383
- Afghanistan War (2001-present) 2,381
- Iraq War (2003-2012) 4,500
History of the Holiday:
In 1865, the federal government began creating national military cemeteries for the Union war dead. … By the 20th century, various Union and Confederate memorial traditions, celebrated on different days, merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.
Official Birthplace Declared In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. There, a ceremony on May 5, 1866, honored local veterans who had fought in the Civil War.
The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from “Decoration Day” to “Memorial Day”, which was first used in 1882. Memorial Day did not become the more common name until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967.
Since the earliest ceremonies in small American towns following the Civil War, we have gathered on Memorial Day to honor and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. As in those early days of laying wreaths and placing flags, our national day of remembrance is often felt most deeply among the families and communities who have personally lost friends and loved ones.
This national holiday may also be the unofficial start of the summer season, but all Americans must take a moment to remember the sacrifice of our valiant military service members, first responders and their families. Memorial Day is a day of both celebration and grief, accounting for the honor of our heroes and reflecting on their tragic loss.
“Here at the Capitol, just weeks before the end of the Civil War, a weary President Lincoln pleaded with his fellow citizens, to ’bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.’”
– Gen. Colin Powell, USA (Ret.)
Civil War soldiers had been mustered from towns and villages across the land. Like today, the loss of each soldier was a profound tragedy for both family and community.
Today, we honor service members from all of America’s past wars.
But there is immediacy in our sorrow; the wounds of war are new again. As we struggle for ways to heal, Abraham Lincoln’s message of almost 150 years ago can still inspire us.
This, then, is the mission of Memorial Day: to reach out in support of all the soldiers and their families who have sacrificed so much for us.
Throughout America’s history, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens have died bravely serving our country. The number of battle deaths speak to the sacrifices our soldiers and their families have made.