Thursday, November 10, 2005

Celebrating Veterans' Day

November 11 is the day our nation celebrates Veterans' Day. In honor of this holiday, schools, banks, government, and businesses across the country close and give employees and school children the day off.

The holiday was originally the anniversary of the Armistice which was signed by the Allies and Germany in 1918 to end World War I and was then called Armistice Day. By an act of Congress on May 24, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans' Day. "In October of that year, then President Eisenhower called on all citizens to observe the day by remembering the sacrifices of all those who fought so gallantly, and through rededication to the task of promoting an enduring peace. The President referred to the change of name to Veterans' Day in honor of the servicemen of all America's wars." (Excerpts from All About American Holidays by Mayme R. Krythe.)

Following are casualties of war statistics which show the true ultimate sacrifice our young men and women have made to our country in the name of patriotism since the United States of America was conceived:

American Revolution (1775-1783): Dead 4,435, wounded 6,188
War of 1812 (1812-1815): Dead 2,260, wounded 4,505
Indian Wars (1817-1898): Dead 1,000, wounded unknown
Mexican War (1846-1848): Dead 1,733, other deaths in service (nontheater) 11,550, wounded 4,152
Civil War (1861-1865): Dead (Union) 140,414, other deaths in service (nontheater) (Union) 224,097, wounded (Union) 281,881, Dead (Confederate) 74,524, other deaths in service (nontheater) (Confederate) 58,297, wounded (Confederate) unknown
Spanish-American War (1898-1902): Dead 385, other deaths in service (nontheater) 2,061, wounded 1,662
World War I (1917-1918): Dead 53,402, other deaths in service (nontheater) 63,114, wounded 204,002
World War II (1940-1945): Dead 291,557, other deaths in service (nontheater) 113,842, wounded 681,846
Korean War (1950-1953): Dead 33,741, other deaths in service (theater) 2,827, other deaths in service (nontheater) 17,730, wounded 103,284
Vietnam War (1964-1975): Dead 47,410, other deaths in service (theater) 10,789, other deaths in service (nontheater) 32,000, wounded 153,303
Gulf War (1990-1991): Dead 147, other deaths in service (theater) 382, other deaths in service (nontheater) 1,565, wounded 467

America's Wars Total: Dead 651,008, other deaths in service (theater) 13,998, other deaths in service (nontheater) 525,256, wounded 1,431,290

Post-Vietnam Combat Casualties
Lebanon (Aug. 1982-Feb. 1984):
254
Grenada (Oct.-Nov. 1983): 18
Libya (April 10-16, 1986): 2
Panama (Dec. 1989-Jan. 1990): 23
Persian Gulf (Jan. 16-April 6, 1991): 147
Somalia (Dec. 1992-May 1993): 29
Haiti (Sept. 1994-April 1996): 4
Former Yugoslavia(1992-2001): 9
Kosovo (March-June 1999): 2
Afghanistan (Oct. 2001 - Present): 124+ and counting
Iraq (March 20, 2003-Present): 2,000+ and counting

I guess we need a holiday to justify sending fresh young blood into battle for old men's causes. I guess we must fly our American flags, tie yellow ribbons around all the oak trees in every neighborhood, place service star banners in our windows, hold parades when we send the young titans off to war and hold parades when they return in their coffins or their wheelchairs. In honor of all these galant people who were given a hero's sendoff, hugs and kisses from their family, and dignified funerals, I hereby award them the Purple Heart.




My feelings about war are aptly expressed by the following song lyrics which were written during the Vietnam War and first recorded by Edwin Starr.

War (Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong)
Performed by Edwin Starr, War and Peace, C. 1970, Motown Records

War! - huh- yeah -
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Uh-huh

War! - huh - yeah -
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it again y'all

War! - huh - good God
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me . . .

Ohhh . . . War! I despise
Because it means destruction'
Of innocent lives

War means tears
to thousands of mothers eyes
When their sons go to fight
and lose their lives

I said - War! Huh - Good God y'all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it again

War! Whoa, Lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me . . .

War! It ain't nothing but a heartbreaker
War! Friend only to the undertaker
War! It's an enemy to all mankind
The thought of war blows my mind

War has caused unrest in the younger generation
Induction then destruction -
Who wants to die?

Ohhh . . . War - Good God Y'all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it, Say it, Say it

War! Uh-huh - Yeah - Huh!
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me . . .

War! It ain't nothing but a heartbreaker
War! It's got one friend, that's the undertaker
War has shattered many a young man's dreams
Made him disabled bitter and mean
Life is much too precious to spend fighting wars these days
War can't give life, it can only take it away

War! Huh - Good God y'all
What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing
Say it again

War! Whoa, Lord
What is it good for
Absolutely nothing
Listen to me . . .

War! It ain't nothing but a heartbreaker
War! Friend only to the undertaker
Peace Love and Understanding;
tell me, is there no place for them today?
They say we must fight to keep our freedom
But Lord knows there's got to be a better way

War! Huh - Good God y'all
What is it good for?
You tell me
Say it, Say it, Say it

War! Huh - Good God y'all
What is it good for?
Stand up and shout it.
Nothing!

Of the 230 years since the United States of America was founded, we have been at war for approximately 154 of those years. Good God, y'all.

1 Comments:

At November 11, 2005 5:55 AM, Blogger jellyhead said...

Those are sobering statistics - not just the loss of life, but also the number of years at war.

I guess it is one of the less admirable traits of human beings - this need we have to settle disputes with death and destruction. I'm all for peace, too, but somehow I can't see it happening until humans are extinct. Hmm, another sobering thought.

Today we have 'Remembrance Day', to honour Australian men and women who fought for our country. The saying on everyone's lips today is... "We will remember".

 

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