EDITORIAL: This Memorial Day, remember 38,648 Hoosiers

·2 min read

May 29—38,648.

That's more than the populations of New Albany, Richmond, Goshen, Zionsville, Marion, Logansport, Lebanon, Washington, Elwood, Martinsville, Valparaiso, Greenfield and hundreds of other Hoosier communities.

38,648.

Accumulating statistics from various databases tracking military casualties, that's the number of Hoosier service members who died during the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf War and armed conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

38,648.

That doesn't include all of those who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and took their own lives after their discharge. And it doesn't include any who might have died of injuries or illnesses that were never attributed to their military service during wars.

38,648.

Remember that number as you enjoy this extended Memorial Day weekend with family and friends. Grill those hot dogs, enjoy a lovely beverage, watch the Indianapolis 500. Do all of those things that you would normally do to celebrate the unofficial start of summer. But don't forget the reason for Memorial Day.

38,648.

If you pray, give thanks for their ultimate sacrifice to preserve our lives, liberty and freedom. With their blood and their last heartbeat, they helped preserve our way of life.

38,648.

Attend a local ceremony to honor those who died in battle. Or, if you can't do that, just freelance it. Go to a cemetery and find grave markers that note military service. Place a flower on the grave. Bow your head and show respect with a few moments of silence.

38,648.

While Memorial Day isn't designated to honor military veterans, still make sure you show special respect for them during this special weekend. For example, don't shoot off fireworks if veterans live in your neighborhood. Fireworks could trigger flashbacks.

38,648.

Honor that number with humility and thoughtful words. Don't wish anyone a happy Memorial Day; it's not a day of levity but one of somber reflection.

38,648.

Your appreciation should transcend politics. Regardless of what you think of war in general or the political party that's currently in power or the president who sat in the Oval Office during a war, recognize that those tens of thousands of Hoosiers fought and died for our country.

38,648.

Remember that number and think of the real people behind it. Many were young and must have been frightened. Almost all would not have chosen to kill or be killed. Future loves, future children, future grandchildren and untold experiences awaited. But their lives were cut short. They did it for us.

38,648.

This weekend, no matter what else you do, remember that number. And honor the lost lives of Hoosiers.

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