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Lest We Forget

Memorial Day, United States of America

By J. S. WadePublished about a year ago β€’ Updated about a year ago β€’ 3 min read
Lest We Forget
Photo by Sonder Quest on Unsplash

(Play as you read) Mansions of the Lord, West Point Glee Club and Band

Today, in America, we remember not victories nor defeats nor politics, or why, but with profound gratitude honor those who sacrificed their lives at places like Bunker Hill, Barbary coast, Buena Vista, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Verdun, Normandy, Iwo Jima, Chosen Reservoir, Khe Sanh, Granada, Medina Ridge, Fallujah, and Wanat.

Forty million, eight hundred and ninety-two thousand, one hundred and twenty-eight (41,892,128) men and women dutifully served in wars defending our freedom. Six hundred and fifty-one thousand and thirty-one (651,031) died in battle. Three hundred and eight thousand eight hundred others (308,800) died from other deaths (In war theater.) Two hundred and thirty thousand two hundred and fifty-four (230,254) died from other deaths (Not in the war theater.) One million four hundred thirty thousand two hundred and ninety (1,430,290) died from non-mortal woundings.

Two million six hundred and twenty thousand three hundred and seventy-five (2,620,375) dead.

Memorial Day is when Americans remember the fallen who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our country's freedom. The day of remembrance was declared a Federal holiday in 1971 by the United States Congress to be observed on the last Monday of May.

The origination of remembrance day came three years after the American Civil War when Major General John A Logan organized a Decoration Day in 1869 to remember those who died. The first memorial was held at Arlington National Cemetery, with over five thousand in attendance. May 30th was chosen because it would be a day when the flowers of Spring would bloom nationwide.

By Janne Simoes on Unsplash

In 1971, the United States Congress declared the day a National Holiday and named it Memorial Day. In December 2000, the United States Congress passed the, The National Day of Remembrance Act and the President signed into law to include all wars to be remembered on the last Monday of May of each year.

Memorials abound across our country, from statues and museums to iconic displays of remembrance. One moving example is the artful display at the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago, IL., where 58,307 dog tags of those lost in the Vietnam War are displayed. (Thank you, Judey Kalchik)

Another is in the unique sculpture and U.S. Marine Corps memorial, Iwo Jima.

The Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C.

The most significant memorial is the one that each American holds dear in their hearts and minds to not forget, to honor, and never let the blood spilled on our behalf be in vain.

Photo by author, Gettysburg Pa, Great Great Great Grandaughter of Union soldier

Within, The National Day of Remembrance Act is a call, a request, for all Americans to stop for a time of silence at 3 p.m. to honor, reflect, and remember the millions who, with their last breath, suffered grievous pain, spilled their blood, and sacrificed their lives for our freedom.

Please, do not forget the living veterans who suffer greatly today as they loved, served, fought, and witnessed the brutal sacrifices of their brothers and sisters. For them, it is more than a remembrance; it is an enduring horror. I witnessed my father's distress, a retired U.S.A.F. fighter pilot, every year as he remembered his brothers in arms, members of his fighter squadron, who perished. Of great pain to him was observing an ambivalence of so many on this day.

A warning: History has taught us and begs to be heard today. The greatest of dangers shall befall us if we dare to forget.

3 p.m. today, wherever you are, is an excellent place to start. As for me, I humbly thank each one with tears of gratitude; it's the least I can do.

A sonnet for Memorial Day

Data from VA.gov

fact or fictionveteranhistoryeducation

About the Creator

J. S. Wade

Since reading Tolkien in Middle school, I have been fascinated with creating, reading, and hearing art through story’s and music. I am a perpetual student of writing and life.

J. S. Wade owns all work contained here.

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Comments (16)

  • Lamar Wiggins6 months ago

    That was incredible, Scott! I'm so glad it was shared on Vocal Social Society. The music choice played perfectly... πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½πŸ™πŸ½

  • Sarah Danaher6 months ago

    Well done and I will always remember those who died. My great uncle died in WW2 in the Pacific and to never forget their sacrifice. This is a good reminder

  • Donna Fox (HKB)11 months ago

    J.S. this was such a beautiful tribute to some unsung heroes, well done!! I also appreciate the adage of the music to help set the mood and carry the message behind this piece just that extra bit further! Beautifully done!

  • β€οΈπŸ•ŠοΈ

  • Aphoticabout a year ago

    β€οΈπŸ€πŸ’™

  • Thank you for writing this Scott. I will never understand the need for war, the need for conquering or the need for power. I don't understand why some humans feel they are better than certain humans. Like why can't humans live peacefully among each other? Humans but no humanity.

  • Cathy holmesabout a year ago

    Seeing the numbers in print is just a jolt. A very poignant and soul stirring tribute. Well done, and God bless.

  • K. C. Wexlarabout a year ago

    Great subject matter and important to think about during such uncertain global times

  • Kelli Sheckler-Amsdenabout a year ago

    This is unbelievable. I so appreciate your effort in this research. Great job πŸ‘

  • Judey Kalchik about a year ago

    Poignant and unmistakable- our losses are horrendous.

  • Linda Rivenbarkabout a year ago

    Powerful and humbling words you have written, and every word is so true. I can relate to your pain over your father's grief over the memory of watching many of his brothers in arms die in combat. My Dad served three years in the Pacific Theater of World War II, and he was haunted by it for the rest of his 92 years. When I was with him and my Mom taking care of them near the end of their lives, I would sometimes hear him weeping and talking about some of those haunting memories. Everyone should know it is not something to be forgotten or taken lightly.

  • Gerald Holmesabout a year ago

    Using the actual numbers to get your point to resonate was pure genius. I salute you sir.

  • Babs Iversonabout a year ago

    Veteran's honor and remember those that didn't come home. I know my dad did. Not far from my parent's home, there is a community called Boalsburg, PA. In 1864, three women placed flowers on the graves of those who died in the Civil War. It's considered one of the first memorial day and remembrance day observances.πŸ’• Your article speaks volumes!!!πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’•

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    These numbers are just staggering, Scott. Thank you for sharing this piece.

  • Roy Stevensabout a year ago

    A powerful tribute Scott. Well done!

  • Dana Crandellabout a year ago

    Thank you for this thoughtful and beautifully written piece, Scott. I'm so glad you led with the numbers. It's a sad fact that so many are completely unaware of how many have been lost, and the way those that served with them are affected. Well done!

J. S. WadeWritten by J. S. Wade

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