I last visited Arlington National Cemetery right before my friend John Milkewicz shipped off to Iraq. I am very thankful that he came home. Memorial Day is for those soldiers who did not.
It began after the Civil War as Decoration Day, for decorating the graves of soldiers. After World War II it became more commonplace. I know many veterans, family and friends. I am grateful that they came home. The only family member I know who died at war was Nicholas Pucci, who served in the Korean War.
Let us remember the dead today, and the true cost of war, which echoes through the generations. The lost promise, the families left gouged by their absence, and the burden those who made it home must carry.
|American Civil War||625,000|
|World War II||405,399|
|World War I||116,516|
|American Revolutionary War||25,000|
|War of 1812||15,000|
|Mexican American War||13,283|
|War on terror* present||6,717|