Monday, May 30, 2011

Some Gave All

Billy Ray Cyrus had the hit song that told of a veteran who reminded the songwriter about the importance of the service to this nation of the men and women who serve in our armed forces. The chorus goes like this:

"All gave some and some gave all. And some stood through for the red, white and blue, and some had to fall. If you ever think of me, Think of all your liberties and recall Some gave all."

All of our veterans have contributed to the freedoms we enjoy, but some have literally given their lives for the cause. That is why we celebrate today in a holiday that we call Memorial Day.

Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the Civil War, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not. However, the original intent was to honor our war dead. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. Service Members who died while in the military service. The first Decoration day was enacted by freed slaves in South Carolina to honor the Union soldiers of the Civil War. After World War I it was extended to recognize Americans who have died in all wars. Here is a breakdown of the American War Dead. The totals are staggering.

American Revolution, 25,000

Northwest Indian War, 1056

Quasi - War, 514

First Barbary War, 74

Other action against pirates, 194

Chesapeake-Leopard Affair, 3

War of 1812, 19,260

Marquesas Expedition, 305

Second Barbary War, 138

First Seminole War, 47

First Sumatran Expedition, 2

Black Hawk War, 305

Second Seminole War, 1535

Mexican American War, 13,283

Third Seminole War, 26

American Civil War -

Union, 365,511

Confederate 260,000

Dakota War of 1862, 113

Shimonskeki Straits 5

Snake Indian War, 30

Red Cloud's War, 126

Korea (1871), 3

Modoc War, 56

Great Sioux War, 314

Nez Perce War 134

Bannock War, 12

Ute War, 15

Ghost Dance War, 35

Sugar Point (Chippewa Indians), 7

Spanish American War, 1622

Philippine American War, 2930

Boxer Rebellion, 131

Mexican Revolution 35

Occupation of Haiti, 148

World War I, 116,516

North Russia Campaign, 424

Siberian Expedition, 328

China 5

US Occupation of Nicaragua 48

World War II, 405,399

China (1945-1947), 13

Berlin Blockade, 31

Korean War, 53,686

Cold War (with USSR) 32

Cold War (with China) 16

Vietnam War 58,209

1958 Lebanon Crisis 6

Bay of Pigs Invasion 4

Dominican Republic 13

Iran (1980) 8

El Salvador Civil War 37

Beirut Deployment 266

Persian Gulf escorts 39

Invasion of Grenada 19

1986 Bombing of Lybia 2

Invasion of Panama 40

First Gulf War 258

Somalia 43

Haiti 4

Colombia 8

Bosnia-Herzegovina 12

Kosovo 20

Afghanistan 1413

Iraq 4430

Total American War Dead 1,343,812

Some of these wars are well known, some, virtually forgotten. Some considered to be "just wars", others for the wrong motives. Some have been popular with the public, others, terribly unpopular. Regardless, the blood of young American men and women flowed in each of these actions, as they died in service to their country.

So, this year, as you hit the swimming pool, mow the grass, have a picnic, go to a parade, play a round of golf, or take the family on an extended weekend trip, remember - freedom isn't free.

All gave some. Some Gave All!

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