This year Memorial Day will look very different for most of us. Big camping trips and backyard barbeques of the past will now be replaced with much smaller and more intimate events. So many of us are longing to spend the weekend at a beach, camping or at a big family gathering, but fears of spreading the Coronavirus have changed all of that.
This pandemic may have changed our type of celebrations, but the meaning behind Memorial Day not changed. We will honor the men and women of our military who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Their willingness to face danger and put their lives on the line are a debt that we cannot ever repay. During this pandemic we have seen medical professionals show that same kind of courage.
Memorial Day has become known as the kick-off for the summer. School is done and warmer weather is here. This year, summer plans are put on hold as states across the country begin to cautiously open back up, but fears of a ‘second wave’ will keep many of us close to home. Memorial Day will likely see our country cross an unimaginable threshold of 100,000 deaths due to the pandemic.*
Perhaps now, more than ever, we truly understand the value of human life.
So far, more than 7,000 U.S. servicemen and women have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (2,298 in Afghanistan and 4,572 in Iraq) and over 52,000 have been wounded. In Vietnam 58,209 US servicemen were killed and 153,303 were wounded in combat. In Korea 36,516 servicemen were killed and 92,134 were wounded. In World War II 405,399 US servicemen were killed and 670,846 were wounded. In World War I 116,516 US servicemen were killed and 204,002 were wounded. We owe a debt of gratitude to each and every one of these individuals, and we should NEVER enter into war without considering the enormous price these men and women have paid for our freedom.
*as of Friday afternoon there were 97,637 deaths in the United States.