Editorial: War dead sacrifices remembered

May. 25, 2013 @ 06:37 AM

Around the world today, we have about 1.5 million soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines deployed to war zones or combat missions.

For perspective, imagine capacity-filled football stadiums at N.C. State or North Carolina. Fill just one of them two dozen times, and you start getting an idea of the bodies, each linked to families and communities just like ours.

The two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have always been in place for the current Generation Z kids. There have been about 6,700 American deaths linked to the activities.

Monday is Memorial Day, and it is a time for pausing to remember America’s war dead. While there is much political strife, questions about the end game for the current military actions, Monday is a time to reflect, to honor and to pray.

Honoring our fallen from battles and wars began to take shape in the years following the Civil War.

In many communities, springtime efforts were made to decorate graves and recite prayers in memory of those lost. By the late 1860s, Decoration Day was a staple in many places, though the practice was yet to have a permanency in timing across the country.

World War I brought more Southern areas into the practice. States had holidays, and May 30 evolved as the date of choice for remembrance.

In 1968, Congress moved to make the last Monday in May a federal holiday and Memorial Day has been with us since.

True, to many it simply signals the unofficial start to summer.

But we hope you take time to remember the real meaning of why we pause. Its origins are from a war that took 620,000 of 2.4 million troops fighting, all Americans, and injured millions more. Our beloved Southern territory and population was devastated.

Wars, conflicts and military actions involving our troops ultimately unite us, and remembering the fallen is a gesture for which we need to make time.

To all the service men and women, we humbly but sincerely offer, “Thank you for your service to our country.”