Memorial Day weekend is typically filled with picnics, barbecues, and other events that signify the beginning of summer. But truly it is a day to remember those who died and honor those who remain, regardless of the wars in which they fought.
Frank Woodruff Buckles, Pershing’s Last Patriot, was the last surviving American veteran of World World I when he died in February, 2011. He was 110 years old.
America’s Wars, released by the Department of Veteran’s Affairs using some data from the Department of the Defense, provides the statistics for these eleven wars in the history of the United States:
- American Revolution (1775-1783)
- War of 1812 (1812-1815)
- Indian Wars (approximately 1817-1898)
- Mexican War (1846-1848)
- Civil War (1861-1865)
- Spanish-American War (1898-1902)
- World War I (1917-1918)
- World War II (1941-1945)
- Korean War (1950-1953)
- Vietnam War (1964-1975)
- Desert Shield/Desert Storm (1990-1991)
*the statistics don’t yet include numbers from the ongoing Global War on Terror (Oct 2001).
We are now standing witness to the passing of “the Greatest Generation,” those men and women who fought in World War II. In fact, they are the parents of the largest generation, the Baby Boomer Generation, spawned when those soldiers returned stateside and prospered. Those children are now planning for their own retirement and reviewing their own senior care options.
An enlisted man (or woman) 20-years-old in 1945, the last year of the Second World War, will turn 90 years old next year. Many are already in their nineties. Out of the 16 million who served their country during WWII, just over 1.7 million U.S. service members are alive today. According to the Veteran’s Administration, by 2036, it is estimated there will be no living veterans of World War II left to recount their experiences.
I heard about Honor Flight Network on NPR last week and was impressed by the group's committed to making sure the remaining WWII veterans get to Washington D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor at no cost.
If you are providing senior care to a WWII vet who would like to travel to Washington DC, time is of the essence, so be sure to contact Honor Flight Network. According to their website, subsequent to the World War II veterans, their efforts will then focus on our Korean War and then Vietnam War veterans, honoring them similarly. Contact your local hub for applications.
Here are some of the rough numbers to think about this Memorial Day:
Total number of U.S. Military Service during Wartime, from 1775 to 1991 (and remember, still counting): 41,892,128
Recorded Battle Deaths: 651,031
Caregiverlist® would like to take this space and remember all veterans. If you know of anyone who may be considering a career as a senior caregiver or who would like to just assist others, especially those who served in World War II, refer them to a senior caregiving job.
“We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by.”
— Will Rogers
IMPORTANT NOTE From Honor Flight Network: Honorflight.com and Honorflights.com are NOT associated with Honor Flight Network. (honorflight.org). The aforementioned sites and any other sites of companies that charge any fee to veterans are not affiliated in any way to Honor Flight Network. The flights and tours that Honor Flight Network provides World War II and terminally ill veterans are absolutely FREE.