By: Ted Schnell
On a chilly, slightly damp Monday morning in St. Charles, residents lined up along both sides of Main Street where they waved flags, cheered, and often applauded as U.S. veterans marched through the downtown, accompanied by floats and marching bands, on a day designated specifically to honor them.
The parade’s brevity — a scant 20 minutes or so — seemed in stark contrast to the sacrifices men and women have made in the service of this country. Perhaps that was because the focus was on the patriots and the branches of the military they serve, rather than some of the marketing-type floats and politically related entries in the city’s other parades.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday that is observed the last Monday in May each year to pay homage to those who have paid, often dearly, to keep our nation and its allies safe and free.
Just a glimpse at some of the numbers kept by military statisticians is staggering. Since 1775:
- More than 40 million men and women have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.
- More than 1.3 million men and women have died in the service of our nation’s military. *
- More than 1.5 million men and women have been wounded while serving our nation’s military. *
- More than 38,000 have gone missing in action. *
Read the rest of the story here.