A Reflection on Memorial Day 2016
We do remember those who died in battle to maintain the integrity of the U.S. – 620,527 in the last 100 years: 116,516 in WWI / 405,399 in WWII / 33,686 in the Korean Conflict / 58,209 in Vietnam / 4,488 in Iraq / 2,229 in Afghanistan
We do remember all who serve in the military today.
Let us remember those whom we forget: the many more who served in wars & conflicts and who lived with the burdens of combat. Let us remember the many who took to alcohol, isolated silence, drugs, etc. and who, with their friends & family, struggled with the results of trauma & terror. Let us remember especially those who died in silence unable to let go of their burdens.
Let us remember those whom we forget: the veterans whose post-war trauma led them to take their own lives. 22 Veterans and 1 active duty soldier take their lives daily.
“A tragic milestone was reached last year, when 185 active-duty Army soldiers died by suicide, surpassing the 176 soldiers killed in battle in Afghanistan that year. The Army’s annual death toll from suicide has more than tripled since 2001, when 52 active-duty soldiers took their own lives.” (Huffington Post, 9/25/13)
Let us remember lest we forget: For those of us who are still learning to be Christians, let us pray for our enemies. May God heal all that divides us. May God send us all forth as ambassadors for peace and reconciliation.
Happy Memorial Day. –roc,sj