Decoration Day, more commonly known as Memorial Day, is a day of remembrance and reverence for those who have died in service of the United States. The national holiday was conceived out of a desire to honor our dead after the Civil War. Officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, Decoration Day was “designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
Since the Civil War, Memorial Day has come to reflect a day when we remember the profound contributions of our veterans, current soldiers and public safety professionals, and for those who did not return from fields of battle or during their public service in our cities and towns. While we reflect deeply on this day, it is important to remember, every day, that our veterans, active service members, and public safety personnel make meaningful and ongoing contributions to our lives every day.
Some data to contemplate on this Memorial Day:
- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that approximately 57 million service members, not inclusive of peacetime service, have served in the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard since the American Revolutionary War began in 1776.
- Over 1.3 million service members were killed in various wars since the American Revolution, with more than 1.5 million service members wounded.
- According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. had almost 800,000 police officers, 325,000 fire fighters, and almost 300,000 EMTs and paramedics. These 1.4 million professionals help their communities in remarkable ways every day.
- In 2014, 133 police officers lost their lives in the line of duty. In 2011, one of the deadliest years in recent history, 3,005 firefighters were killed in the line of duty.
Beyond the data
A recent scene involving military members at DFW International Airport is a memory that has stayed with us. While traveling on business from Dallas to the west coast in October 2014 we witnessed a group of armed forces members — Army, as we recall —returning home from an international deployment. For those of you who are familiar with Terminal D at DFW, you know there are overhead walkways where passengers disembark to travel to customs, as their first point of entry into the U.S. These walkways are enclosed by glass so disembarking passengers can see the terminal below and, likewise, people on the lower level can see those passengers in the walkways. On this particular Tuesday morning, we saw approximately 40 soldiers, outfitted in the Battle Dress Uniform (BDU) fatigues from a desert deployment. To our delight, passengers and the crowd in the terminal stopped, gazed upward to see the soldiers traversing the walkways with their backpacks on, and got quiet. In a moment of complete spontaneity, the crowd began applauding these brave men and women on their way to customs. They began chanting “U.S.A… U.S.A.” It was a precious moment in time for all people involved — a glimpse into the feelings many Americans experience every day toward members serving in the armed forces.
As proud Americans and investors in businesses in the aerospace, defense, cybersecurity, and homeland security sectors, we wish to express deep thanks to members of our armed forces, past and present, and their families for their commitment to our values and for their profound contributions to our society and country!
Never Forget and Always Be Grateful!