How many people does it take to make a democracy? And, how many people does it take to maintain a democracy or freedom around the world? Remembering those who have given the ultimate sacrifice to maintain our freedoms, both at home and abroad, offers us a perspective into those costs. Here, indeed, are some very sobering numbers that I hope will make you sit up and take notice.
Civil War - April 12, 1861 - April 9, 1865
Confederates - 258,000
Union - 360,222
World War I - July 28, 1914 - Nov. 11, 1918
World War II - Sept. 1, 1939 - May 7, 1945
Korean War - June 5, 1950 - July 27, 1963
Vietnam - Aug. 5, 1964 - May 7, 1975
Gulf War - Aug. 2, 1990 - June 13, 1991
Operation Enduring Freedom - Oct. 7, 2001
Operation Iraqi Freedom - Mar. 19, 2003 - Aug. 31, 2010
Operation New Dawn - Sept. 1, 2011 - Present
Here is some interesting math to think about: Forty-nine years after the Civil War we entered into World War I. Twenty-one years after World War I came World War II. Five years after that came the Korean War. One year after that we had Vietnam! Fifteen years later the Gulf War began, followed ten years later by Operation Enduring Freedom. Add just a year and a half later and Operation Iraqi Freedom was implemented.
So, what is my point? It's this...Freedom isn't free! It comes with a continuing and hefty price tage of lives, money, heartache, grief and chaos. The world always seems to have money to buy bullets, bombs, uniforms, and equipment, but mankind can't feed its hungry, educate its children, take care of the sick and elderly or learn to live in peace. It seems to be the human condition. We , the world, can't grasp the concept of resolving conflicts peaceably. There are always those who must subjugate the masses to their selfish ideologies. The sad thing is...there are always little people who will follow them like sheep in those endeavors. That being said, then there must be others who will put their lives on the line to hold them in check. It's a never-ending tug-of-war.
I wish it could be different. I pray for a world where people's needs are met, their lives are free from fear and tyranny, they have food, shelter, and oppotunities to aspire to greater things. I wish with every fiber of my being that could be possible, but I am a realist and I don't see that ever happening. Still, I pray for it.
So, this Memorial Day, I hope that we will remember the importance of acknowledging those who have served to keep the ideal of democracy and freedom alive. It's obvious it's a constant job. It is both our duty and honor to thank those heroes. Really, it's such a small contribution.
By all means, enjoy your time with friends and family. This is what freedom means; the ability to enjoy our lives free from fear, and pretty much take for granted our daily safety because others have made that possible. That means they have done a good job. We can do that because "some gave all, and all gave some".
Thank you, Veterans. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your sacrifices; it was not in vain.
As always....live an inspired and patriotic life!