Memorial Day is almost upon us, and hidden behind the sales adverts, cookout charcoal, and deals “celebrating” Memorial Day, is the real reason behind the federal holiday.

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia. Shutterstock

Its the one day a year set aside to remember the fallen, those who paid the ultimate price for freedom, military servicemen and women who died in action, in all the wars the United States has fought.

The observance of honoring the men and women who died while serving the military since the early years after the Civil War, it was not an official federal holiday until 1971.

Many Americans visit cemeteries or memorials dedicated to the fallen in observance of Memorial Day.

Costs of war

The National Cemetery Administration was established because the Civil War had claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history, with estimates as high as 850,000 Americans dying in the war.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is located in Arlington National Cemetery, just across the Potomac River from Washington D.C. The tomb was approved by Congress in 1921, the burial honoring an unidentified American soldier from World War I.

An inscription on the back of the tomb reads, “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I was given a sarcophagus placed over the grave and to the left of World War I Unknown, are the crypts of the Unknowns from World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam.

Military Funeral at Arlington Cemetery

The Unknown from the Vietnam War was interred on May 28, 1984, former President Ronald Reagan both presided over the funeral, and also acted as the next of kin, by accepting the interment flag at the end of the ceremony.

This Memorial Day, President Donald Trump might be pardoning former servicemen accused and or convicted of war crimes.

According to In These Times, the writers takeaway is that “the worst war criminals” wear suits and not fatigues.

But, no American war, has ever been started by any servicemember, ever. They have always been started by suits, specifically, elected officials.

The military has always done one thing, and that is, serve this country faithfully.

During World War I, an estimated 37 million were killed during the war, and during World War II, 45 million civilians died during the war. 

During the Vietnam War, 2 million civilians died during that conflict. 

During the Korean War, there were an estimated, 2.5 million civilians who died that was almost 10 percent of its prewar population.

Korean War Memorial 19 statues sculpted by Frank Gaylord of Barre, Arlington Cemetery, Washington. (

During the Gulf War there were an estimated 3,000 civilian deaths according to Human Rights Watch, and during the Afghanistan war on terror estimates of 38,000 civilians died since 2001. 

Looking at these estimates, every war has drastically reduced civilian deaths. As technology, and military tactics, training and tools have improved, then needless deaths of civilians have dropped.

Members of the 101st Airborne Infantry Division and the 4th Infantry Division crowd aboard an LCT on the way to Utah Beach, June 6, 1944. “Courtesy of The National WWII Museum.

There will probably never be a war where no civilian dies, war is chaos, there is no other way to describe war and combat to those who were not there.

Finally, the President of the United States has the power to pardon anyone, for just about any reason other than impeachment. And as the Commander-in-Chief of all the Armed Forces of the United States, is the President not also the ultimate person responsible for all the actions taken in any war?

Does the president pardoning these servicemen, not acknowledge he accepts responsibility for their actions?

I do not have these answers, but as a former serviceman, I would like to think that my president, is moral and ethical enough to accept the ultimate responsibility for the action taken on the battlefield.

Here is the President’s Proclamation on “Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day, 2019.”

I hope that everyone has a safe and pleasant Memorial Day, and if you can spare five minutes and know someone who is either currently serving, or a veteran, reach out and say hi, with veteran suicide rates at 22 per day, your call might just be the thing they needed this weekend.

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