Sacrifice for our country beyond measure

Civil War 620,000

WWII 405,399

WWI 116,516

Viet Nam 58,209

Korean War 36,516

Revolutionary War 25,000

War of 1812 20,000

Mexican War 13,283

Iraq-Afganistan 6,626

Spanish-American War 2,446

Gulf War 258

Solemn totals of our American war dead as reported by the American Battlefield Trust.

Memorial Day serves as the official start of the summer season for many Americans.

Memorial Day means much more to the American families who have lost loved ones to war.

Memorial Day originated in the years following the American Civil War which ended in the spring of 1865. The Civil War claimed more American lives than any other conflict in our history. In the years following, Americans in many cities and towns began holding springtime tributes to the many fallen on both sides in that war by reciting prayers and decorating their graves with flowers and flags.

First known as Decoration Day and evolving into Memorial Day, we now commemorate our war fallen from all conflicts on the last Monday of May each year.

Some historical records show that a group of formerly enslaved people organized one of the earliest Memorial Day commemorations in Charleston, South Carolina less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865.

How fitting it is that Americans originally and spontaneously began commemorating our war dead following our own internal conflict. Over time, we have come a long way toward eliminating racism and establishing equality in this country. As we now continue to struggle with racial discord in our country, how fitting it is that these ancestral Americans began honoring the courageous dead of a civil war fought over slavery.

Those who have died in all wars protecting and defending our American constitution, our American way of life, and our American culture deserve our eternal gratitude and somber esteem.