One more day to remember
Memorial Day 2004 has now come and gone, leaving behind another day of celebrating those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. There can never be too many days like that, days that focus people's attention on the sacrifices that have made our way of life possible.
That's especially true now, in so many different ways. As this edition of the paper hits newsstands, we've just voted for local officeholders, a right we owe to the people who've fought to defend our way of life.
And of course there are men and women fighting in the Middle East, many of whom won't make it home. They'll be among those honored when future Memorial Days roll around, adding to the number of soldiers who've paid the highest price.
Already, they number in the many hundreds of thousands. According to an online database maintained by The United States Civil War Center, 804,913 soldiers were killed in combat from the first shots fired in the Revolutionary War to the end of the Gulf War.
During the same period -- which includes every war fought prior to the current War on Terror -- another 949,851 died outside of direct combat, either from disease, by way of accident or as prisoners of war.
Since the War on Terror began three years ago, hundreds more have been added to the list of those we honor.
Of the many included in the staggering totals of American war dead, none lost their lives more heroically, or fighting in more pivotal action, than those who stormed Nazi-held Europe on D-Day.
The invasion of the Normandy beachhead, which spearheaded the allies' reclamation of a conquered continent, was nothing short of miraculous in its planning and execution.
Depicted so well -- and according to some veterans, so realistically -- in the film Saving Private Ryan, the storming of the beaches was a nightmarish undertaking. But those who died there, and those who lived to carry the fight inland, paved the way for the decades of freedom we have enjoyed since.
That was June 6, 1944. Next Sunday marks the 60th anniversary of D-Day. Following closely on the heels of Memorial Day, it offers yet another opportunity to look back and appreciate those who fought for freedom.
And its a good thing too. Because, again, there can never be too many days like that.
-- John Dilmore Jr. is publisher of The Brewton Standard. He can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com