Like any birth, our nation was born in blood. The founding fathers had to fight the armed might of the British Empire to earn their freedom and establish this nation. From that day to now, brave people have stood between danger and America, often purchasing with their bodies and their very lives the continued freedom of this nation.

On this day we remember those men and women who have fallen in the defense of the United States of America. They sacrificed all they had that we might be free. Let us live in such a way that their sacrifice was not in vain.

Today you may see some old man wearing buttons, badges and a funny hat, and he may offer you a small plastic poppy flower. That man is a veteran. Shake his hand and thank him for his service. You are a free American because of his service and the service of thousands of brave men and women like him. Then buy that poppy from him and wear it with pride. On this Memorial Day, we remember those who are not around to barbecue and take the day off work; instead they lie in poppy-strewn fields.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, Canadian Army
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

November 11th is Veterans Day, saluting all the men and women who have served in the armed forces. Mere words are not sufficient on this day. Shake the hands of everyone you meet who has served and thank them for their service. And if you see someone in uniform, pick up their tab, whether it’s a cab, a drink, a meal, or groceries. It’s a small act of kindness for those who fill the role of defender as outlined in our anthem.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: ’In God is our trust.’
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

“The Star Spangled Banner”, fourth stanza

Veterans Day

Joseph Ambrose, an 86-year-old World War I veteran, attends the dedication day parade for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982, holding the flag that covered the casket of his son, who had been killed in the Korean War. (from Wikipedia)

Today is Memorial Day, the day set aside to remember those who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Since the birth of our nation in armed conflict and again in each generation, brave men and women have stood “Between their loved home and the war’s desolation” to keep our nation and its people free. So as you enjoy your vacation from school or work, your barbeques, or your fun times today, remember that you are free to do so because millions of American men and women served in the armed forces to keep our nation free, and too many of them gave the ultimate sacrifice while serving.

Don’t mistake this day for Veterans Day, which honors all veterans, not just those who died. But nothing says you can’t (or shouldn’t) thank any member of the military you encounter today.

Here are several good Memorial Day links well worth visiting:

Michelle Malkin

Gateway Pundit

Hot Air

Below is a wonderful National Geographic special about Arlington National Cemetery hosted on Hulu titled “Arlington: Field of Honor”.

And to finish off this post and to list out their sacrifice, here is a table taken from the Wikipedia article on American casualties of war. I have edited the list to enumerate only the dead, not the wounded.

War or conflict Date Deaths
combat other total
American Revolutionary War 1775–1783 8,000 17,000 25,000
Quasi-War 1798–1800 20 20
Barbary Wars 1801–1815 35 35
Other actions against pirates 1800–1900 10 10
Northwest Indian War 1785–1795 1221+
War of 1812 1812–1815 2,260 ~17,000 ~20,000
First Seminole War 1817–1818 30 30
Black Hawk War 1832 60+
Second Seminole War 1835–1842 328 ~1,500
Mexican–American War 1846–1848 1,733 11,550 13,283
Third Seminole War 1855-1858 26 26
Civil War: total 1861–1865 212,938 ~625,000
Union 140,414 224,097 364,511
Confederate 72,524 ~260,000
Indian Wars 1865–1898 919
Korean expedition 1871 3 3
Spanish–American War 1898 385 2,061 2,446
Philippine–American War 1898–1913 1,020 3,176 4,196
Boxer Rebellion 1900–1901 37 37
Mexican Revolution 1914–1919 35+
Occupation of Haiti 1915–1934 146
World War I 1917–1918 53,402 63,114 116,516
Northern Russian Expedition 1918-1920 424
American Expeditionary Force Siberia 1918-1920 189
China 1918; 1921; 1926-1927; 1930; 1937 5
US occupation of Nicaragua 1927-1933 48
World War II 1941–1945 291,557 113,842 405,399
China {Cold War} 1945-1947 13
Berlin Blockade 1948-1949 31
Korean War 1950–1953 30,880 2806 36,516
Russia {Cold War} 1950-1955 32
China {Cold War} 1956 16
Bay of Pigs Invasion 1961 4
Vietnam War 1957–1973 47,424 10,785 58209
Invasion of Dominican Republic 1965-1966 13
El Salvador Civil War 1980–1992 9 20
Beirut deployment 1982–1984 256 266
Persian Gulf escorts 1987–1988 39 0 39
Invasion of Grenada 1983 18 1 19
Invasion of Panama 1989 23 40
Gulf War 1990–1991 148 151 299
Somalia 1992–1993 29 14 43
Haiti 1994–1995 1 4
Bosnia-Herzegovina 1995-2004 1 12
Kosovo 1999 1 19 20
Afghanistan 2001–present 463 214 677
Iraq War 2003–present 3,760 540 4,300