Arlington National Cemetery has been the focal point of national Memorial Day commemorations since 1868.

Since 1971 Memorial Day has been a federal holiday here in the United States of America. Dating back to 1868. it was first known as Decoration Day. Back then 20,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery were decorated by family members and volunteers.

Memorial Day is often confusing to members of the public who have not served our nation in uniform or did not have family members who served in the military.

Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor our military members who died in the line of duty while serving this great country.

In our revolutionary war or our war for independence, some 4,435 Americans died, 2,260 died in the war of 1812. Some 1,000 died in what the Defense Department calls the Indian wars with the Mexican war claiming 13,283. It was our war between the states or the civil war that saw our largest war dead total of 498,332. While the Spanish-American War claimed 2, 466 war dead, we lost 116,516 in the Great War or World War l.

World War II resulted in 405,399 killed in action with Korea seeing 54,246 combat deaths. Vietnam saw 90,220. The Gulf War resulted in 1,565 combat deaths, and the Global War on Terror another 6,852.

The total number of Americans killed in all U.S. wars is just over 1.1 million. During World War 1 we lost 26,000 Americans in a single day of fighting at the Battle of the Argonne Forest. That could be the total population of any town in this state or any other state. The losses were devastating.

During World War II just about 13%t of our population served in our military. This according to the Census Bureau. Conversely, today just 1.3 million serve on active duty and another 1.1 million in the guard and reserve. Today we are a nation of 320 million Americans. The math tells us that slightly less than 1% will wear the uniform of their nation.

The fact that just 1% of Americans will serve in the Armed Forces makes this Memorial Day even more important to remember.

Our nation owes a great debt to all who serve but even a greater debt to all who have served and died in the spirit of duty, honor, and country.

Please join our fellow Americans as we remember those who paid such a high price for the freedoms we enjoy — and remember freedom isn’t free.

One way to do that is to attend the annual flower drop at the Palm Springs Air Museum. It has become a staple of the Memorial Day holiday on which we honor our fallen comrades who paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.

Image Sources

  • Arlington-National-Cemetery: Shutterstock