The unofficial start to summer. In normal times, a four-day weekend for most. Aromas of grilled meats wafting through the air. Echos of kids playing outside. This year, this year is different. This year we, as a nation, are in a battle against an enemy that is only .02 to .05 microns big. We also struggle against the ideology of our neighbors. The battles are real, and though some may claim moral high ground, we haven’t defeated the enemy yet.
There are new heroes touted in the news daily. We call these heroes the “frontline workers”, or “first responders”. These are the folks engaged in the deadly war with the smallest of enemies. Some of these are battle-hardened long before this war. They have seen the worst that disease and injury can do to the human body. Others, well, they are just learning now. These frontline workers and first responders will forever live with the images and memories of this war. They are the ones, after this war is over, that we, as a society, will need to care for.
Others are self-proclaimed warriors in this combat against the tiny invader. They tout their slogans, “wear a mask, save a life”, or “wearing a mask doesn’t help”. They proclaim, “stay inside, stop the spread”, or, “I have the freedom to move as I wish”. They shout, “social distancing saves lives”, or, “protect the vulnerable, all others should enjoy their protected freedoms”. They assert, “don’t open now, it’s too dangerous”, or, “if we don’t open now, we will destroy what’s left of this country”. This conflict against an enemy that cannot be seen with the naked eye has divided this nation. This division runs deep. It places those who value safety more against those who value freedom more.
Today and this week, in honor of Memorial Day, please stop for a moment and reflect. It is important that Americans know how many lives have been lost in the pursuit of freedom and safety.
American Revolution 4,435 lives lost in battle
War of 1812 2,260 lives lost in battle
Indian Wars 1,000 lives lost in battle
Mexican War 1,733 lives lost in battle
Civil War 214,938 lives lost in battle
Spanish-American War 385 lives lost in battle
World War I 53,402 lives lost in battle
World War II 291,557 lives lost in battle
Korean War 33,739 lives lost in battle
Vietnam War 47,434 lives lost in battle
Desert Storm 148 lives lost in battle
Global War on Terror 6,967 lives lost in battle
(as of April 2019)
This is 657,998 lives lost in battle in the pursuit of freedom. This does not count the number of injured. 657,998 Americans have died protecting our right to shout, wear a mask/don’t wear a mask, or stay inside/move about freely, or keep the state closed/open the state.
Today, of all days, let us unite in honoring those that made the ultimate sacrifice for us to be able to disagree with each other without fear, fighting, further division, threats or worse.
Today let’s commemorate the lost lives of those that allow us to freely stay at home, or freely move about.
Today, let’s reflect on those who freely and voluntarily gave up what is most precious, their lives, so that we can live safely in disagreement with each other.
I ask us to put away the vitriol against others with whom you disagree. Today, unite with those whom you disagree to recognize, remember, commemorate those who died who gave us all freedom.
Happy Memorial Day!