Hope this morning finds you waking up maybe a few minutes later than normal and smiling because you have a day with family ahead. I am smiling for all those reasons and the fact that my non-coffee drinking husband has learned to MAKE ME COFFEE and even brought it to me in bed this morning! My 5 year old said, "Mom it's not even Mother's Day and daddy made you coffee!" It was also like a Christmas miracle that 2 of my 3 kiddos were still asleep as of 8am! It's the small things my friends.
I realize that extra family time is a glorious thing but I am reminded of the reason we celebrate this very holiday in the first place, because some gave up their lives to serve and protect. The holiday was declared in 1866 originally to celebrate those who gave their lives in the Civil War. It was later changed to a federal holiday to honor all of those giving their lives in service in the armed forces.
Here are some approximate numbers of casualties in America's wars (not counting Revolutionary):
Civil War: Approximately 620,000 Americans died. The Union lost almost 365,000 troops and the Confederacy about 260,000. More than half of these deaths were caused by disease.
World War I: 116,516 Americans died, more than half from disease.
World War II: 405,399 Americans died.
Korean War: 36,574 Americans died.
Vietnam Conflict: 58,220 Americans died. More than 47,000 Americans were killed in action and nearly 11,000 died of other causes.
Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm: 148 U.S. battle deaths and 145 non-battle deaths.
Operation Iraqi Freedom: 4,422 U.S. service members died.
Operation New Dawn: 66 U.S. service members died.
Operation Enduring Freedom: 2,318 U.S. service members have died as of May 12, 2014.
(These facts from this article.)
It's humbling to read these numbers and think about the lives. I am SO, SO thankful for our country and the military who represents us. Our church had the honor yesterday of hosting the Dover Airforce Base Honor Guard who came to present the flag. War veterans within the service were honored and it really puts a face to the sacrifice.
If you want to read a really good biography on a war hero, I have two different suggestions. I think they can only increase your respect and understanding of what a military personnel goes through. I would suggest either the story of WWII hero Lou Zamperini come to life in the book Unbroken, or the more recent story of sniper Chris Kyle in American Sniper. Both stories have also been recently on the big screen and available on video now too if you don't have time for a book. I HIGHLY recommend the books though, so much more introspection and detail, although some things are decidedly hard to read.
I will leave you with these words from Abraham Lincoln, "That we were highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain - that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Enjoy your Memorial Day 2015 and take a moment to thank a military personnel!