Memorial Day USA

Memorial Day USA

Memorial Day USA. A day set aside to remember those fallen in defense of our nation, in defense of our Constitution. Our  way of life. And if I may include... those that have died in operations in support of our government's policies (i.e. Exhortation 17, Benghazi.) Not to be confused with Veterans Day, Memorial Day in the USA is a day set aside to remember those that have served and died in service to us all throughout the history of the United States of America. And beyond perhaps if you choose to remember those of the French Indian War (1754 - 1763). Of which many of these veterans participated in the American Revolution as well. (Being of Native American [Cherokee] blood I choose not to go back to the first settlers from Europe to this continent and we'll just leave it at that, 'k?!) But think of it! This is rather unique in my view in that... as a lot of what America stands and is known for is liberty. Today's Americans, unlike so many nations through out history and even today still, serve in defense of this nation by their own free will choice. We have a volunteer Armed Forces. Sure we've had the draft a few times in the past but that doesn't diminish the service of those drafted either! Service to one's nation/tribe has always been seen as something substantial, something honorable. (Well... with the exclusion of today's politicians!) Memorial Day is the day to respect our dead. Those that died in defense or our way of life. How about some facts on this occasion?

Memorial Day was first referred to as Decoration Day in that it was a day reserved to pay honor and respect to the dead of the Civil War conflict. Initially observed May 30, 1868 after the proclamation of one General John Al Logan (pictured here) of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR - An association of veteran Union soldiers and sailors.) Twenty five days just prior to this first widely held remembrance, the General declared in his General Order Number 11 that, "The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the last rebellion, and those whose bodies now lie in almost ever city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit."

General and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, among other D.C. officials presided over the ceremonies of this first observance. General James Garfield (who later became the last "log cabin" president, pictured below) gave this speech at Arlington National Cemetery which was followed by the decorating of 20,000+ Union and Confederate soldiers by some 5,000 participants consisting of GAR members and children of the Soldiers' And Sailors' Orphan Home...

"I am oppressed with a sense of the impropriety of uttering words on this occasion. If silence is ever golden, it must be here, beside the graves or fifteen thousand men, whose lives were more significant than speech, and whose death was a poem, the music of which can never be sung. With words we make promises, plight faith, praise virtue. Promises may not be kept, plighted faith may be broken, and vaunted virtue be only the cunning mask of vice. We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke: but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue."

Memorial Days celebrations were being held on May 30 across the nation by the end of the 19th century. The Army and Navy also adopted regulations for proper observance on military bases around the world. Although states have since passed proclamations to remember these men and women and the sacrifice they made to secure the nation we have today, Memorial Day is the day set aside... not by our government or attention seeking politicians  but initiated by Americans. Veterans. With a desire to remember fallen brothers-in-arms who share a common love. A love of country. A country where we Americans live free. Free to initiate a day of memorial for those that died in defense of it. Without government endorsement. A nation built on the concept of each citizen given the opportunity to "... secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves...". A nation like no other. A nation worth fighting... and dying... for.

All Time U.S. Military Casualties
(As of May 2013)
America's Wars Total (1775–1991)
Military service during war41,892,128
Battle deaths651,031
Other deaths in service (theater)308,800
Other deaths in service (nontheater)230,254
Nonmortal woundings1,430,290
Living war veterans16,962,000
Living veterans23,234,000
Global War on Terror
Total Servicemembers (Worldwide) (as of Sept. 2011)1,468,364
Deployed to Iraq (Operation New Dawn) (as of Dec. 31, 2011)0
Deployed to Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) (as of June 2011)45,000
Battle Deaths5,078
Other Deaths (In Theater)1,378
Non-mortal Woundings48,104
For Conflict By Conflict Breakdown See -> America's Wars: U.S. Casualties and Veterans

A Recent Update On The Civil War Casualties

"For 110 years, the numbers stood as gospel:  618,222 died in the Civil War, 360,222 from the North and 258,000 from the South-- by far the greatest toll of any war in American history. But new research shows that the numbers were far too low.
By combing through newly digitized census data from the 19th century, J. David Hacker, a demographic historian from Binghamton University in New York, has recalculated the death toll and increased it by more than 20 percent — to 750,000. The new figure is already winning acceptance from scholars. Civil War History, the journal that published Dr. Hacker’s paper, called it “among the most consequential pieces ever to appear” in its pages. And a pre-eminent authority on the era, Eric Foner, a historian at Columbia University, said: 'It even further elevates the significance of the Civil War and makes a dramatic statement about how the war is a central moment in American history. It helps you understand, particularly in the South with a much smaller population, what a devastating experience this was.'”

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
Moina Michael 
Recommended Video 3:22
Links Used In This Post
Memorial Day History
America's Wars: U.S. Casualties & Veterans      General John Al Logan
New Estimates On Civil War Death Toll             President James A. Garfield
1st Memorial Day Speech General Garfield        Memorial Day History
Perceptions                                                        Proud To Be American
Thankfulness                                                      VA/National Cemetery Administration

Related Links
Wikipedia's Breakdown Of U.S. Casualties        Moina Michael
Commission Maintains U.S. Cemeteries Oversees
Recounting The Dead

- Published 05/24/2013