A bit of Memorial Day-related information of which I was unaware until I looked yesterday morning at Monday's entry on the day-by-day calendar that Suzanne gave me for Christmas, which I would have been aware of on Memorial Day proper had I taken ten seconds out of the five hours I spent at work on Monday morning bringing the calendar current. According to my calendar, each of the 4,048 gold stars on the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. represents 100 military deaths during the war.
Acquiring that piece of information prompted me to do a quick on-line search of America's WW II casualties, for no reason other than it seemed utterly incomprehensible to me that over 400,000 American soldiers, sailors, and flyers were killed. I wish my reluctance to believe such an enormous figure had been borne out by the facts. It was not. The National World War II Museum's web site lists the total number of American military deaths in World War II as 416,800. A staggering figure. Yet one that pales in comparison to those of Germany, Japan, or the Soviet Union. According to that web site, World War II killed a total of 15,000,000 soldiers, sailors and flyers, injured another 25,000,000 and killed another 45,000,000 civilians. Eighty-five million people killed or wounded in less than a decade's time...and all at the hands of another human being.
Amazing what those of us of the human persuasion are capable of when we apply ourselves, is is not? It is - at the very least - terrifying.