Today is Memorial Day, the day we in the States set aside specifically to honor and remember men and women who have died in military service. I wanted to do a post for Memorial Day and I started thinking about the current war in Iraq. After zipping around in Wikipedia for a while, I found my way to an entry entitled “Multi-National Force – Iraq“. In a subsection, Deaths, it listed the numbers of deaths of those serving in the Multi-National Force through January 2010 as 4,692 (this absolutely does not include Iraqi deaths). In another Wikipedia entry “Casualties of the Iraq War” the breakdown is such:
There are quite a few exceptions and justifications provided for the numbers above, including alternate estimates from multiple reporting sources.
Regardless of your thoughts on war and the politics of war, these are a lot of people who have died in service to their countries. Regardless of their reasons for serving, of their duties or positions in the war, of the reasons for this war, of the impacts of this war, or of any philosophical objection to or support of wars in general, or to this war in particular, these are a lot of people who have lost their lives. Their deaths have affected our families, friends, communities and countries in uncountable ways. On Memorial Day, I reflect on these losses.
This painting always brings a lump to my throat, and whenever I start to wax philosophical about war, this always reminds me that the consequences of war are very down-to-earth.