As Memorial Day weekend begins, let us not forget the men and women the holiday is intended to honor.
It's the day America pauses and remembers the fallen, those who have died in service to country.
They are many:
- The War on Terrorism, Afghanistan and Iraq - 6,648.
- The Persian Gulf War - 382
- The War in Vietnam - 58,209
- The Korean War -36,574
- World War II - 405,399
- World War I - 116,516
- Add in another 2,446 in the The Spanish-American War; 13,283 in the Mexican War; 2,260 in the War of 1812; 4,435 in The Revolutionary War and 618,222 in the Civil War (750,000 by estimates updated in 2012.)
It was the Civil War, and the horror of its brother-vs brother death count, that actually fostered the day of remembrance we observe this weekend.
First called Decoration Day and marked by the "decoration" of the graves of the fallen, the remembrance has evolved into a national holiday.
For those who agree that such sacrifice deserves remembrance, there is ample opportunity to pay homage not only to these fallen but to their many, many comrades in arms who have served, have suffered, and have died through the generations and the years.
In Cape Coral, the largest of the services will again be at Coral Ridge Funeral Home and Cemetery.
The annual Memorial Day Remembrance Service will be held Monday, May 27, from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Veterans Honor Garden at the cemetery, 1630 S.W. Pine Island Road. The ceremony will begin at 10.
Across the river, Fort Myers Memorial Gardens Funeral Home & Cemetery also will hold its Memorial Day Ceremony on Monday. The ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m.
Both events will feature various speakers and activities appropriate for the one day America remember its war dead.
More details on these Memorial Day activities may be found in today's Breeze or on-line at cape-coral-daily-breeze.com under local news.
We thank those who serve. We thank the families of the fallen. Such sacrifices should not, will not, go unmarked.
- Breeze editorial
Sources: Death toll for Afghanistan and Iraq,
Faces of the Fallen, the Washington Post; death toll (total, all causes) for all other wars,
The Navy Department Library.