Happy 4th Of July
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
Today marks a birthday for the country I call home, which is why today’s post has a patriotic slant to it. However, the thankfulness contained within the message is one that transcends borders and I hope, touches your heart, no matter where you hail from!
It seems to me that the phrase attributed to Woodrow Wilson, “the war to end all wars”, while idealistic and patriotic when first coined, has never been proven to be an accurate statement. Since its creation, mother Earth has existed in a perpetual state of turmoil. Perhaps one of human kind’s greatest faults is the inability of man to gracefully accept being challenged, and most especially, to be told we are wrong. We are reared with certain ideologies, impressed upon us by the individual culture into which we are born. Often these ideologies are taught to us as absolute truths….and in shades of black and white, and never any grays. And so, we react to the challenge, often violently, and before we know it, an armed conflict between people has been born.
I am a product of the Baby Boomer years as is my husband. (Actually, I like to remind Dan that he has been alive in 8 decades because I give him credit for the 48 days he was alive in 1949……hey, it counts as the 40’s!) And while I did fairly well in school, I could not remember the number of major armed conflicts we Americans have been involved in, both during my lifetime, and in the years since our country was founded, and so I decided to look for the information in my search engine. I also wanted to see, in black and white, the number of lives we sacrificed in those struggles. (Please note that in these statistics only major conflicts were included . For example, our military involvement in Bosnia is not detailed.) And what I discovered, the bottom line, shocked me. From The Revolutionary War to our current involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan (only through 12/13/10, which were the last statistics I could find) we have sacrificed 1.1 million men and women.
Total Casualties as of December 13, 2010
|Total Serving||Battle Deaths||Other Deaths||Total Deaths||Wounded||Pct Killed|
|War of 1812||286,730||2,260||2,260||4,505||0.79%|
|World War I||4,734,991||53,202||63,114||116,316||204,002||2.46%|
|World War II||16,112,566||291,557||113,842||405,399||670,846||2.52%|
Every single drop of blood shed over the last 300 years was the sacrifice of true patriotic heroes. These men and women throughout history were called to arms to defend those ideologies we have come to believe in and cherish. These men and women did not question the decisions of the politicians who enact laws and decide the conflicts worthy of our intervention, because it was not their place to do so. They left husbands, wives, parents, children, friends and neighbors behind to travel to far away lands. They were often exposed to the most inhospitable of climates and cultures. And still, they went, never questioning, for it was what they had agreed to the moment they took their oath of military service. And they, without hesitation, raised their arms and aimed their rifles at other men and women, and they sometimes pulled the trigger. And they lived with the consequences of doing their duty, because they were doing it for their husbands, wives, parents, children, friends and neighbors. And they did it because it had to be done, because of those ideologies we have come to believe in and cherish. And I, for one, will be indebted to these men and women as long as I live!
The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
Luke 4:18-19 NIV
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