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A Memorial Day 'Thank You' to the 40+ million who have served in the military

By Dian Vujovich

On today’s to-do list, make sure to say a “Thank You” to the 1.5 million individuals now serving in various branches of the U.S. military. And a second,  bigger “Thank You” to the over-40 million who have served our nation  since it was created.


I’ve stuck a little American flag in the soil of a hanging pot filled with red and white impatiens in my patio. It looks great.  Having a flag displayed outside my home– even if it is a little one—makes me proud.


With all the bellyaching and divisive political crapola going in politics today, none of it matters a bit when you stand back and think about what a terrific country we live in. Bottom line: I’m glad we’ve got a Memorial Day to celebrate and I’ll bet you are too.


Oh, dear, I could get all political and God-bless-America-ish here, but I won’t. Instead, here are a couple of holiday factoids followed by a favor.


The factoids:


• As of January 31, 2013, there were a total of 1,429,995 individuals on active duty in all branches of our United States Armed Forces. That includes: 541,291 in the Army; 333,772 in the Air Force; 317,237 in the Navy; and 195,338 in the Marine Corp.


•The numbers swells to well over 2.3 million when the roughly 851 million individuals in the reserves are added in.


•Our U.S. military is the world’s second largest. China’s is larger.


•Memorial Day was originally Decoration Day. The story goes like this: The Civil War ended on May 4, 1868 and three years later the head of the  Grand Army of the Republic decided there ought to be a special day in the year when people could decorate the graves of those who died in war with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan chose May 30 as that day (and time of year) when flowers all around the country would be in bloom.


Now the favor:


When 3 o’clock Memorial Day afternoon rolls around, please remember to take a break from whatever you are doing and pause a minute for our “National Moment of Remembrance”. A moment of reflections is a wonderful way to honor –and be grateful for– all that we have in these United States of America. And to give thanks to the tens of millions of men and women  who are now, or have served, in our military.


Without their service, imagine what life would be like?

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