Quite frankly, if one more person wishes me a 'happy holiday' in reference to Memorial Day, I will break their jaw. If there is one holiday that America has managed to bastardize more than bloody Christmas, it is the day we are SUPPOSED to set aside to pay our respects to all of those who died in service to our country. Now it's a day off, a time to get drunk and, for those who can afford it, shop for things we really don't need. So, before the day begins and ends without anyone thinking twice about it, I figured someone should deliver some statistics to bring Memorial Day back to reality.
Since the inception of the United States, over 1.3 Million soldiers have died in active duty. The bloodiest war in our history was the Civil War where over 600,000 men laid down their lives. An average soldier is lucky to make over $40,000 a year before being discharged. Every day, an average of twenty-two veterans commit suicide and according to our government one active member of the military out of every five are suffering from a mental or psychological disorder: the most common being, unsurprisingly, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, despite the gloomy statistics, the American military is the most frequently requested aid in the world whenever there is a disaster or tyrant destroying human lives. No group of people have done more for total strangers than the American military. Entire nations exist only because an American marine or battleship is nearby to ensure the evil of the world doesn't take advantage of the good and all that has been asked for in return is enough land to bury our dead.
Every year, on every Internet platform I control, I put up the picture you see above you: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Not all of the 1.3 Million dead have a name, but their service is another drop in the stream of blood that keeps America connected. I usually post them with a quote that, in light of recent controversies, has proven more true today than ever before:
It is the Soldier, not the minister, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.
NOW, to the news!