Today is Memorial Day. It seems bittersweet to say “Happy Memorial Day” as this day was bought and paid for with the blood of those men and women (and dogs) who gave their lives so that the rest of us can breathe free.
Those of us who are Boomers, and those who are older, all know people who have served in war. Most of us know people who never returned. We know people who fled to avoid conscription.
Younger people? To the vast majority of them, war is an abstraction. Currently, less than one half of one percent of Americans are active duty military. Veterans? A little over 7%. (Source) Those who gave their lives and have living relatives? Unknown but given the other numbers, it can’t be that high. As compared to earlier times, at least.
When I was growing up, there were so many, mainly men, family members who had served in WW2 and Korea. As a child, my dentist and my chiropractor had concentration camp numbers burned into their arms, and it was so clear what Americans had died for: to save as many as they could from genocide.