Saturday, July 4, 2015

Independence Day 2015

Followers know that at certain times of the year I choose to write about something other than Vietnam Memorials; Thanksgiving, Christmas, Veteran's Day, Memorials Day and others.

I have been thinking a lot recently about Independence Day and what it means. I guess if we asked 100 people we might get 100 different answers, but I think that it represents the bravery and thoughtful consideration of some very great men. Men who wanted freedom from tyranny and freedom to make their own choices, to establish rights for the common people, to live as they chose to live. A struggle that continues to this very day.

It got me thinking about how many have been willing to defend, often to their death, this dream. I went looking for this information and was, quite honestly, astonished at the numbers and some of the events, which I had never even heard of prior to seeing the list.

The numbers are staggering.

Since 1775, 664,440 have been lost in combat, more, 673,929 were lost to other war related incidents for a total of 1,354,644 lost, add to that the wounded and it doubles, again, 2,852,901.

These numbers are, of course, not exact or completely up to date as they change all the time. Recently, in May of 2015 several more names were added to the Vietnam Memorial, bringing the total to over 58, 300.

Vietnam ranks as the 4th highest loss rate of American wars, behind only the Civil Wat, WWI and WWII. Korea is 5th on the list and cost almost as many as Vietnam, but in far fewer years. Vietnam averaged 11 deaths a day while Korea averaged 45.

So, as we celebrate our founding and our freedoms lets also remember and honor the, literally, millions who made them possible.

Here, if you are interested, is the source of this information. Wiki is often criticized for inaccuracy and as I said these numbers can never really be known, but the number of involvements is astonishing, so check it out.

The 4th of July was one of my favorite holidays in my youth. Summer, school was out, picnics, hot dogs and watermelon and fireworks, what kid could ask for more. Then, of course, I didn't really, deeply. fully, understand about the sacrifice, pain, and death that all of this encompassed. Now, I have a better idea and it saddens me. I don't much care for the holiday any longer. It is not that I don't respect and treasure the Founding Fathers, their efforts and the costs paid by those supporting these new ideas, no, it is that I no longer like the smell of the fireworks or the noise associated with them. It brings back too mush. I go every year because my son, years ago, and now his children, like all children, like me as a boy, enjoy it. I hope every year that just maybe this year will be better, but it never is. Sometimes, later in the evening, I watch the rerun of the fireworks on The Mall in D.C. on PBS and this is usually better; No noise, no smell of cordite. I will continue to go for the kids as long as they are interested, but am not sure what will happen after that. Perhaps, I will have moved on some more and it will be OK, but I doubt it, after all, it has been 50 years. I have no way to elegantly end this, so...

I'll end with a little historical side note.

Sometimes, it seems even the things we think we know are not so! We celebrate Independence Day, the day the Declaration of Independence was signed, on July 4th, but that is not the actual day the Declaration
was signed. It was signed on July 2nd, but the printer did not get around to printing it until the 4th, hence he dated it the 4th and the rest as we say, is history!

Next time, on the 9th we will return to South Dakota, so join me there at 9:00am.

To see Vietnam memorials from any state, click the state name on the left side of this page.

1 comment:

  1. Happy 4th! Hope you get a hot dog and some watermelon!