I obtained this woman’s picture from the internet. Her pain and anguish is obvious. After the death and the burial of her beloved, all she had was the flag the military gave to her!
Memorial Day was originally Decoration Day for the Union soldiers of the Civil War. The Confederate soldiers had a day honoring them as well, but it was most likely on another day. After the death of approximately 625,000 Union and Confederate soldiers, the United States needed to mourn. Every U.S. citizen was affected by the war!!! It was a painful war, because it was on our own soil and amongst our own people.
What most people do not realize is that both sides believed wholeheartedly in what they were fighting for, whether it was for slavery and the lifestyle surrounding it or for the Abolition of Slavery. Also, most people are not aware of how much the Civil War benefitted the United States. For example, the soldiers from each side feared they would die, and they feared that their loved ones would never know their demise. The majority of the soldiers sewed their names on their clothing before battle so that they would be tallied with the dead and their families would be informed of their deaths. Because of this, the production of dog tags (or ID tags) was developed before the Civil War was even over!
Another benefit was that we added three more Amendments to our U.S. Constitution: the 13th banned slavery, the 14th provided citizenship for all those born on U.S. soil (it was only meant for freed black slaves—hint, hint), and the 15th allowed for all men to have the right to vote regardless of their race.
Medically the Civil War opened the doors for “modern hospital organization.” It brought on the need to educate the people who desired to partake in the medical fields as doctors and nurses. We became very aware of the need to develop safer, more sanitized surgical techniques and anesthesia, and well as new embalming methods. It brought on an organized ambulance system and the nurses’ corps, which came in handy during WWI and WWII. This is where the Red Cross received its foundation!!! Our veterans’ rehabilitation centers and convalescent homes and “Old Soldiers’ Homes” evolved from the war and later became our Veterans’ Administration System. I, being a U.S. Air force veteran, have greatly benefitted from the specialty care services I receive for rheumatoid arthritis.
There are also more than 70 National Parks that were either Civil War battlefield sites or are linked to major Civil War or abolitionist characters. This was also the beginning of our National Cemeteries, for example, Arlington National Cemetery.
The telegraph system was established during the Civil War, and it is rumored that President Lincoln was never very far from a telegraph machine. Also the Transcontinental Railroad was established, as well as the foundation for the United States Postal Service, meaning the process of having mail delivered to our homes.
The whole concept of can foods was developed and mass produced, along with the first can opener, during the Civil War.
The Civil War brought on our National Currency, of which we still enjoy to this day. Yes, there were several advances in military technology from the Minié ball bullets, to machine guns and land mines, to ironclad ships and even submarines, and more. However, we will skip over this area.
Now, the United States just had the longest war of its history. Despite the length of the war, we suffered a small number of casualties in comparison to all the previous wars. However, what most people do not realize is that A-L-L our modern technologies reduced the number of deaths during this war. Remember all the things that I list above in their infancies. Well, now all those listed have evolved into advanced forms. Our militaries have medics to help our wounded by injecting anti-inflammatory medicines and antibiotics into our wounded soldiers. Our militaries are able to get them quickly to medical facilities for serious surgeries before gangrene or other infections can set in tissues and limbs. Anyone with a medical background can explain all this thoroughly. Unfortunately, I cannot, but I do know we are able to save more lives today than we could in the recent and distant past.
However, this war maimed hundreds of thousands of people ranging from soldiers, American contractors, to civilians. I believe we will have the highest number of amputees, paraplegics, and quadriplegics returning to the U.S. from this war. All our veteran soldiers will spend the rest of their lives relying on the VA Healthcare System for their medical care.
Nowadays, Memorial Day is for remembering all our veterans from all our wars through all of U.S. history, especially those of the last ten years, who have sacrificed their lives and their well-being for our nation, for our society, and for all our freedoms!!!
(I am not supporting war necessarily!!! Sincerely, I am not! However, there are many individuals throughout the globe who claim nothing good can come from war. At one level, they are correct. However, at another level, they are totally wrong!!! Remember, life consistently proves to us [humanity] that “through all Evil there derives Good!!!” Here are some other benefits from other wars. WWI established the League of Nations and WWII ended up replacing the League of Nations with the United Nations. WWII also opened the doors for the Welfare State. Unfortunately, at present, the Welfare State is being overly exploited in the United States. The war also opened the doors to Civil Rights in America. Did not President Truman sign the Civil Rights Bill in 1948? (I believe so.) With Blacks and Whites fighting beside one another and saving one another’s lives, after returning to America, many veterans did not feel right resuming their old attitudes and prejudices of the past! Also, the Holocaust showed everyone how inhumane humanity can be towards one another, thus establishing The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international laws for maintaining basic rights for everyone. This was established for preventing governments from practicing Nazi-esque policies. WWII also opened the doors to jet engine and rocket technologies, along with radio and radar technologies. It also improved our medical knowledge and practices even further!