Like many Spokesman readers, I’m sure, I was stirred this Memorial Day by the image of seemingly countless stars laid out in the pattern of the American flag, each representing 25 Americans killed in the line of duty in America’s 12 major armed conflicts.
I was struck by the proportion of deaths that are accounted for by the Civil War, doubtless because Confederate army as well as Union army deaths are counted toward the total. I noticed, however, that the Indian Wars only accounted for the estimated number of deaths on the side of the U.S. Army without mention of the tens of thousands of American Indian warriors who must have died during those conflicts defending their freedom.
This led me to further reflect on the final statement of the piece: “The price of freedom is truly staggering.” I suppose “freedom” means something different to each of us. As we take time to honor the fallen and take stock of all we have gained and lost during America’s armed conflicts, my prayer is that going forward we find more peaceful and less costly ways of pursuing liberty and justice for all.