Monday, May 30, 2016

Decorated and Remembered

Memorial Day began as a day of remembrance for those who perished in the Civil War.  Originally it was called "Decoration Day", a term I still remember my grandparents using to refer to the day. I became very aware of its origins and the divide that still existed between North and South when I attended law school in Atlanta in the early 1970's. Memorial Day was not even recognized as a holiday at the school and in much of Atlanta at that time.

It originally was celebrated on May 30 of each year which I also remember. The holiday was established as the last Monday in May by an Act of Congress in 1971. Despite that, my law school classes were still held as usual in 1973 on Memorial Day as if it was any other day. That was a little difficult for a Yankee like me to understand. I recall that it was not until the following year that Georgia fully joined the union in celebrating Memorial Day.

Lest we ever think about forgetting, these are the numbers of Americans who have laid their lives down for us per Wikipedia.

Civil War  625,000
WWII 405,399
WWI 116,516
Vietnam War 58,209
Korean War 36,516
Revolutionary War 25,000
War of 1812 20,000
Mexican-American War 13,283
War on Terror  6,717
Phillipine-American War  4,196

It is interesting to note that there were more American combat deaths on Iwo Jima (6,800) in the 36 days it took to capture that island in WWII than all the military deaths in almost 15 years in the War on Terror to date . Almost 22,000 Japanese were killed in the assault on the island.

I have featured Angela Pan's photography in BeeLine previously. Angela is based in Washington, D.C. and some of her best work features the the monuments and memorials in our capital city.

These images truly honor the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom through the years.

May they never be forgotten.

Credit: Angela Pan

Credit: Angela Pan

Credit: Angela Pan

Credit: Angela Pan


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