Being Veterans Day Weekend, on Friday when my wife and I went shopping, outside of Sam’s Club, there were three older gentlemen from the local VFW giving out small American flag lapels after you make a contribution to their post.
|Korean War Monument|
Source of Photograph: Destination 360
As we were driving away, my wife noted that those men were likely not necessarily WW2 vets but could be Korean or Vietnam. The Korean War was not fought by my generation however, Vietnam occurred during my generation and I knew several classmates who died during the conflict.
|Vietnam War Monument|
Source of Photograph: All Roads
I imagine that I look as old as the guys passing out the pins and it sadly reminded me that the Veterans of WW2 are well into their mid-eighties and are dying.
|WW2 War Monument|
Source of Photograph: The DC Traveler
This weekend it is time to pause and remember those men and women who served our nation in both wars as well as during national peace times.
Some of the wars occurred and were fought for national survival: American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War, and WW2. Other wars occurred because the United States was exerting its influence on the world stage: WW1, Korea, and Vietnam. And our most recent involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq is a bit of national survival and exertion of world influence.
Regardless, the men and women who served and died were called upon by our national leaders to become engaged in conflicts that sometimes made sense and at other times seemed such a waste of lives and money.
However, we may view the conflicts, our veterans fought and died. On Veteran’s and Memorial Days we have the opportunity to remember the living as well as the deceased veterans.
As I thought of the men passing out the lapel pins, I was wondering how many veterans are alive today and as well as the number of men and women who served in those conflicts.
Locating exact figures can be a bit daunting. Dates of the conflicts are pretty accurate and the war dead is generally agreed upon for the conflicts. But the exact number of men and women who served in the conflict can be different and actually assembling the number of survivals is equally as difficult. But general agreement is that there are just over 22 million veterans alive today.
So, I drew up a table assembling some data that just emphasizes the number of soldiers who died and served during the conflicts.
The Veterans Hour
As one can see, when engaged in these very large conflicts, millions of men and women went into the service with thousands dying. Not only did many veterans pay the ultimate sacrifice, but those who survived were often times physically and mentally scarred. Often times we forget to thank the families of these soldiers who also gave up a great deal during the conflicts.
Unfortunately this table does not list the small conflicts that only a few hundred or less died because our nation called upon their service.
There was a quote that I read by a person commenting on wars. The writer said that wars are about old men dreaming of young men to fight. Unfortunately, the writer is probably accurate and hopefully our engagement in wasted conflicts becomes less frequent.
So to you men and women veterans as well as your family members, thank you for your service and sacrifice.