West Meets East

A Western man travels East in search of love, opportunity and happiness.

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Name:Michael Strickland

This blog chronicles my adventures as I leave my native California and travel east to northern Virginia to start a new life. I can only imagine the funny stories I'll recount here as I experience a wildly different climate, culture and way of life.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thank You, Veterans

Today is Veteran's Day. This holiday, meant to recognize those who served our nation in wars and conflicts, originated as "Armistice Day" at the end of World War I (which ended in "the eleventh hour" on this date in 1918). Though another holiday (Memorial Day) recognizes those who fell in combat, it's useful to contemplate the number of people killed in past wars.

Fourteen million people died in World War I (9 million soldiers, 5 million civilians). The number of war dead more than quadrupled in World War II, when 62 million people (38 million civilians, 24 million soldiers) perished. Take a moment to reflect on those vast numbers. There are many countries in the world whose total population does not come anywhere near those numbers.

Next time you hear the mass media focus on some artificial milestone of casualties in Iraq, think again about the numbers above. The loss of even one soldier or civilian is lamentable, but our generation has long forgotten the truly tragic proportions of past wars. With what's at stake in our current war, and what we've already accomplished, I'd say the number of war dead is amazingly low in comparison.

If you know a veteran, tell him or her "thank you" today.

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