4,800-plus and counting

Cleveland Verdin
May 26, 2008
Dr. Charles "Chuck" Binford
May 28, 2008

At Christmas and Easter, Christians are reminded everyday should be celebrated as a holiday.

On the Fourth of July, we’re encouraged to keep the patriotic spirit year-round – not just to think of the day as time spent off of work.

In that same vein, Monday marked Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember the brave men and women who have died protecting America’s ideals. As of Sunday, in Iraq, at least 4,081 members of the U.S. military have died since the fighting began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count. In Afghanistan, the number of dead stands at 506.

At least 3,328 died during hostile action, according to the military’s figures. Eight military civilians have also died in action.

Throughout the Memorial Day weekend, much grumbling was heard about rising prices at the gas pump and in grocery stores. Sadly, more attention was paid by too many on the day’s festivities than about the 4,000-plus fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

On Thursday, a soldier patrolling an area southwest of Baghdad became number 4,081 after a roadside bomb exploded. As of press time, his name, age, hometown or list of survivors was still unknown.

But somewhere, they are family members and friends mourning the loss, just as thousands of others before them have.

With the November election drawing ever closer, the Iraq war has become a political football. But this isn’t the time to dwell on politics. It is a time to consider the solemn price paid and the obligation Americans have to honor all who have given their lives in wars past and present. Not just on Memorial Day, but every day.