Say thanks to a soldier

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 28, 2006

Almost 300,000 men and women serving in the United States military died during World War II. More than 16 million served in that war.

About 54,000 died in World War I – a war in which 4 million served.

In Korea, approximately 34,000 American soldiers gave their lives. More than 5.7 million were in uniform, serving all branches of the military, in that conflict.

In Vietnam, the number of casualties is close to 48,000, with more than 8.7 million serving.

In the first Persian Gulf War, 147 died. That’s out of 2.2 million who served.

Those casualties are the number of battle deaths, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. The numbers do not include other deaths related to the wars – which often outnumber the battle deaths.

The number also does not include those wounded in action.

The number of Americans killed in the War in Iraq is now at 2,462, according to CNN’s web site.

This morning at 11 a.m. at Selma’s Memorial Stadium, the Veterans of Foreign Wars will host a local ceremony honoring those who served, and those who died in the service of our country.

This is an excellent opportunity to express your thanks to someone who served in the military.

Flags have been placed on the graves of soldiers at local cemeteries as well, and you may have noticed flags flying at half mast.

Even if you can’t attend today’s ceremony, Memorial Day serves as a reminder that men and women died so that we may continue to enjoy freedom.

It also serves to remind us that we have men and women in harm’s way even now, in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are a lot of things you can do to show your support to those who serve.

Write a letter. Say a prayer. Contact a soldier’s family and ask if they need any assistance while their loved one is away.