I would think that anyone with any awareness at all realizes that Memorial Day is just not a holiday marking the beginning of summer, or an occasion for sales. I think we are all aware that it is a day for honoring the sacrifice of those who died in our country’s wars (about a million people all told) to insure that our freedoms and way of life continue. As we have watched the videos of troops departing for combat and returning home, and some coming home in flag-draped coffins, we know the cost of protecting our country. In my lifetime, we have had the Korean War, the Viet Nam War, the Gulf Wars, and the War on Terror, including Afghanistan. Currently we are in a war that has lasted a decade, with an abundance of sacrifice from millions of people.
A friend sent an article about the losses of aircraft and crews during World War II. On average, 6600 American servicemen died per month, or about 220 a day. A single B-17 bomber going down meant the loss of ten men. It was not uncommon to lose 10, 50, 100 bombers on a single mission. It adds up.
George Orwell said, “People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.” I would change rough men to “courageous and dedicated men and women” because I think that reflects the reality of the situation. I hope we can be aware of those who made the supreme sacrifice and of those right now who are giving their all so that we may sleep peaceably in our beds.