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Remember Our Few and Our Proud and Thank Them For All They Have Done For US

By Darrell Smith

Less than a half percent of the US population is serving in one of our branches of the military this Memorial Day, or 1.3 million out of our population of 330 million people. In all there are about 19 million veterans alive today and nearly 75% of this figure are aged 65 years or more. So, especially for younger people, many may have little contact with someone who has served their country as a proud member of its military. In all our wars since the turn of the last century, starting with World War One, over 600,000 U.S. military service people gave their lives for their country.

In the last decade, the number of military people who have died serving our nation number under 100. Any death as a result of a military action is always a great loss, to families and our country, but with fewer people taking on military service, it may also mean that fewer citizens have a real understanding of the sacrifice that military members make.

How do we get in touch with our service men and women?

One thing we can all do is to take a moment to visit a cemetery sometime this Memorial Day holiday or at some other time in the coming days to walk the graves of our fallen and deceased. You will be able to recognize them by the American flag that has been posted at their grave site. Many of the flags may be posted in a special medallion marker indicating the branch of our military that they served in.

By looking at their year of birth marked on the grave you may be able to discern what year they may have started their military service, since most individuals may only serve if they are over 18 years of age or older. Once you have gained this perspective, place yourself in their shoes when you were their age, assuming you are at least 18 now. What were you doing when you were their age, when perhaps they were serving the United States in the Mideast, Korea, Vietnam, or a small island in the Pacific or a village in Europe.  If you wish, say a prayer in thanks or simply touch their stone and give your thanks for their service. All our veterans, living or passed deserve your recognition, your thanks and your smile.