Freedom Isn’t Free
As one who has never been forced to experience the horrors of war first hand, I would like to extend my deepest thanks for those who have done so on my behalf. And to those who have lost loved ones or have suffered wounds in the process, please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers on this solemn day. I include the words of Abraham Lincoln below, as they capture the thoughts of a grateful nation so perfectly.
Abraham Lincoln’s Letter of Condolence to Mrs. Bixby
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.
I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
America’s Wars: U.S. Casualties and Veterans
The table below has information about the total number of service members, battle deaths, and non-mortal woundings in wars from 1775 to 2012; such as the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I and II, Vietnam, and more.
|American Revolution (1775–1783)|
|Total service members||217,000|
|War of 1812 (1812–1815)|
|Total service members||286,730|
|Indian Wars (approx. 1817–1898)|
|Total service members||106,0001|
|Mexican War (1846–1848)|
|Total service members||78,718|
|Other deaths in service (non-theater)||11,550|
|Civil War (1861–1865)|
|Total service members (Union)||2,213,363|
|Battle deaths (Union)||140,414|
|Other deaths in service (non-theater) (Union)||224,097|
|Non-mortal woundings (Union)||281,881|
|Total service members (Conf.)||1,050,000|
|Battle deaths (Conf.)||74,524|
|Other deaths in service (non-theater) (Conf.)||59,2972|
|Non-mortal woundings (Conf.)||unknown|
|Spanish-American War (1898–1902)|
|Total service members||306,760|
|Other deaths in service (non-theater)||2,061|
|World War I (1917–1918)3|
|Total service members||4,734,991|
|Other deaths in service (non-theater)||63,114|
|World War II (1940–1945)3|
|Total service members||16,112,566|
|Other deaths in service (non-theater)||113,842|
|Korean War (1950–1953)|
|Total service members||5,720,000|
|Other deaths in service (theater)||2,835|
|Other deaths in service (non-theater)||17,672|
|Vietnam War (1964–1975)|
|Total service members||8,744,000|
|Other deaths in service (theater)||10,786|
|Other deaths in service (non-theater)||32,000|
|Gulf War (1990–1991)|
|Total service members||2,322,000|
|Other deaths in service (theater)||235|
|Other deaths in service (non-theater)||1,565|
|America’s Wars Total (1775–1991)|
|Military service during war||41,892,128|
|Other deaths in service (theater)||308,800|
|Other deaths in service (non-theater)||230,254|
|Living war veterans||16,962,0004|
|Global War on Terror 5|
|Total Service members (Worldwide) (as of Sept. 2011)||1,468,364|
|Deployed to Iraq (Operation New Dawn) (as of Dec. 31, 2011)||0|
|Deployed to Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) (as of June 2011)||45,000|
|Other Deaths (In Theater)||1,378|
1. Estimate based upon new population projection methodology.
2. Estimated figure. Does not include 26,000–31,000 who died in Union prisons.
3. Years of U.S. involvement in war.
4. Total will be more than sum of conflicts due to no “end date” established for Persian Gulf War.
5. October 7, 2001 through May 29, 2012 (unless otherwise indicated). Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn.
6. Defense Manpower Data Center (DMDC) estimate, as of 4/09, does not include those still on active duty and may include veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Source: Department of Defense and Veterans Administration.