At the time of this writing, called the holiday season, the spirit of giving is in full mode. We exchange gifts and wish everyone the merriest and happiest. The nearness of family and friends intermingled with food and drink makes this a fine and festive time of the year. The real meaning, or religious part, of the holidays is also in full swing; sometimes forgotten, but for most of us, always a reminder of why we celebrate.
We must never forget also that there are wars going during this very sacred time of the year. Our sons and daughters, nephews and nieces, grandchildren and many family and friends just may be in "harm's way" for this edition of our holidays. It's to those people we should all reach our hearts out to and wish the very best and warmest holiday greetings.
"War is hell," said Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman, who knew and saw the tragedies of war. They say the first recorded war may have occurred around 2700 BC between Sumer, which was part of present day Iraq, and Elam, which was part of present day Iran. Sound familiar? Of course, tribes were fighting each other long before even this.
The stupidity of wars and their aftermath is unrealistic, as the price unfolds in lives lost, both military and civilian including children. Cities and whole countries are blown apart. Injuries and loss of limbs and much misery and suffering and decay strewn throughout so-called war zones, along with money lost. And why? I am sure the treasury that is lost could have been used in much better ways. The price of war is too high even for the most positive results.
Usually causes or reasons for those sometime unnecessary bloodbaths called wars include greed and ambition. Thus, unscrupulous leaders tend to go to war at the expense of their own people for their personal quest of power and territorial gains and boundary lines and other trivial things. I sometimes think that war is actually a part of nature's way designed to curb population. Wars are fought for many reasons, and as long as there are humans disagreeing, conflicts will continue on.
Our American Civil War was fought to free the slaves in our country and another cause was secession of states from the Union. Nevertheless, there were 140,414 Union soldiers who perished, and 281,881 non-mortal woundings. For the Confederates, there were 74,524 who perished, and it is unknown how many non-mortal woundings. Those totals were all Americans lost.
World War I was supposed to be a war to end all wars, and caused, so they say, by the assassination on June 28, 1914, of the Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife by a Serbian nationalist. After the sinking of the British ship Lusitania with Americans aboard, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson decided to go to war in 1917. In the short term of this war by the Americans (as Armistice was signed in 1918), we still lost 53,402 brave young men with 204,002 non-mortal woundings. Some of those wounded men were gassed in the trenches and never recovered. The numbers lost throughout Europe in this war are unbelievable.
In World War II, we were definitely attacked by the Japanese, and Germany declared war on us. It was a war we had to fight. We still lost 291,557, with 671,846 non-mortal woundings. And on to Korea, which was described by President Harry S. Truman as a "police action." We lost 33,741, with 103,284 non-mortal woundings. In Vietnam, we lost 47,424 with 153,303 non-mortal woundings. During First Gulf War, we lost 147, with 467 non-mortal woundings. I have no up-to-date numbers on the deaths from the wars on terror, which have to be well over 4,000 brave men and women who have perished.
We certainly have to defend our country and should by all means. The sad part is that we are losing our cream of the crop in young men and women, who would no doubt have contributed heavily in many phases of our society in science, labor, education and much more. Those people are and will be sadly missed.
We are so thankful to you, our true heroes, and wish you the happiest and merriest of all holidays. God speed!
Statistics taken from the Web site www.infoplease.com