Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why A Memorial Day?

Why do we bother with memorials and remembrances? Why should we care whether or not events peculiar to our culture are observed for all time by future generations?

Unfortunately things have progressed to the point in America where perhaps we need to have discussion like this. Memorials have been observed for thousands of years. The earliest indications of human existence are recorded in some part due to man's need to remember (also to serve some rather colossal egos!), to hold near and dear the memory of important lives and events in order for the culture to survive; not merely to survive - but to remain intact. We can survive, but will we recognize the end result in a few generations?

Will the image displayed above pertaining to the war my father and his brothers fought have the same emotional impact on my great grandchildren as it does for me? That is one of the cultural issues that memorials are created for.

One of the earliest surviving memorials is the Passover, as detailed in the Book of Exodus. The observation of Passover celebrates the deliverance of Israel from the tyranny of an Egyptian Pharaoh approximately thirty-five hundred years ago. The Hebrew Feasts and holidays, in effect their memorials, are what kept the identity of the Jews alive despite two thousand years of persecution, murder and dispersion.

Our Memorial Day started as Decoration Day on May 30, 1868, to honor the dead from the Civil War. There have been many wars since. In all, since 1775 over 1,316,000 men and women have sacrificed their lives for our country.

War of Independence ----(1775-1783)------25,000
Quasi-War -----------------(1798-1800)-----------20
Barbary Wars -------------(1801-1815)------------35
War of 1812 ---------------(1812-1815)-------20,000
1st Seminole War ---------(1817-1818) -----------30
2nd Seminole War --------(1835-1842) -------1,500
Mexican-American War - (1846-1848) -----13,283
3rd Seminole War ---------(1855-1858)-----------26
Civil War --------------------(1861-1865) ---623,026
Indian Wars ----------------(1865-1898)----------919
Spanish-American War ----(1898)--------------2,446
Philippine War -------------(1898-1902) -------4,196
Boxer Rebellion ------------(1900-1901)-----------37
Mexican Revolution -------(1914-1919)-----------35
Haiti Occupation ----------(1915-1934)----------146
World War 1 ---------------(1917-1918)----116,708
World War 2 ---------------(1941-1945)-----407,316
Korean War ----------------(1950-1953)------36,914
Vietnam War ---------------(1964-1973)------58,169
El Salvador -----------------(1980-1992)-----------20
Persian Gulf Support ------(1987-1988)-----------39
Invasion of Grenada -------(1983)------------------19
Invasion of Panama --------(1989)-----------------40
Persian Gulf War ------------(1991) ---------------269
Somalia -----------------------(1992-1993) ---------43
Bosnia -------------------------(1995) ---------------12
Afghanistan ------------------(2002-2010) -----1,084+
Iraq ----------------------------(2003-2010) -----4,400+

It is said that men do not necessarily die in combat for their Cause or their Country; they die for their friends. Jesus said in John 15:13

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for His friends".
If we are to be true to the precepts that founded this Nation, then we must also accept the sacrifice that our friends made for us. That is why there is a Memorial Day - a Day of Remembrance for our friends: past, present and future. We will never forget the blood sacrifice that Christ made for our sins and we must never forget the blood sacrifice that our vets made for our freedom. To forget these sacrifices is to deny what we are.
And then what will we be?


USA_Admiral said...

Great Post Sir!

Cookie..... said...

Hey Mate, have always loved the opening statement at the top of your blog. That says it ALL!!

sig94 said...

Admiral - why thank you kindly sir.

sig94 said...

I tell ya Cookie, I fear every day that those who are ready, willing and able to defend those freedoms are becoming fewer and fewer.