• Memorial Day

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    Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May every year, in remembrance of those who have died serving the United States Military. While its exact origins are not known, it was started sometime after the Civil War when Americans across the country started to independently give tribute to the sacrifice of those who served, decorating their graves and giving prayers. In 1868 General John A. Logan proclaimed that May 30th would be “Decoration Day”, which would soon evolve into Memorial Day, earning status as a federal holiday in 1971.

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    The total number of American soldiers who have died in war is over a million, the most deadly conflicts being the American Civil War (620,000-750,000 dead), both World Wars (116,516 and 405,399), the Vietnam War (58,209) and the Korean War (36,516). In the three day Battle of Gettysburg in the American Civil War, both sides had a combined amount of casualties of 51,000 with 7,000 dead. In World War I, the Meuse–Argonne offensive was the final Allied push which ended the war, but claimed the lives of 22,277 American expeditionary troops. In the invasion of Normandy, 2,500 American servicemen died in one day. In Vietnam, 12,000 of the American soldiers who died were draftees. In the forgotten war of Korea, the aptly named Battle of Bloody Ridge resulted in the loss of 2,600 American lives.

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    Those may just be statistics, but each number had ascribed to it a name and a family like you or I, cut short by conflict in the preservation of the nation and her interests. Soldiers faced many deadly challenges throughout the years of conflict, beyond combat with the enemy. These included starvation and exhaustion, disease, and environmental exposure. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer in the United States, with the weekend being taken up by family barbeques and stores sales, take a minute of the day to remember those took up arms, and gave their lives.

    If you wish, you can look here to see some of those faces of the 6,840 killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.


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