Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Monday’s New York Times printed an op ed graphic showing the number of American soldiers who died in each of the twelve wars in which this country has been involved since 1775. I copied those figures, added the dates of each war, noted the intervals between wars, and figured out the total of dead American soldiers. There were no statistics given for the dead ‘enemy’ soldiers, nor the numbers of civilian ‘casualties.’ And if there had been, how could we begin to comprehend the enormity of those figures?

Many of us have felt the impact of one life lost. Multiply that by millions.

No generation has been unaffected.

Perhaps it is time to ask: When will it end?

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) – 25,324 dead
29-year interval

War of 1812 – (1812 to 1815) 19,465 dead (subtotal—44,789)
31- year interval

US Mexican War (1846-1848) 13,283 dead (subtotal – 58,072)
13-year interval

Civil War – (April 1861 – April/June 1865) 622,000 dead (subtotal- 680,072)
33-year interval

Spanish-American War (1898) 2,446 dead (subtotal- 682,518)
16-year interval

World War I (1914 to 1918) –116,516 dead (subtotal- 799,034)
21-year interval

World War II (1939 to 1945) 403,339 dead (subtotal-1,202,473)
5-year interval

Korean War (1950–53) 54,246 dead (subtotal – 1,256,719)
2-year interval

Vietnam War (November 1955- to April 1975) 58,220 dead (subtotal 1,314,939)
15-year interval

Persian Gulf War (Aug. 1990 – Feb. 1991) 383 dead (subtotal 1,315,322)
10-year interval

Afghanistan War (2001 – present) 1,076 (as of May 31) (subtotal 1,316,398)
2-year interval

Iraq War (2003 – present) 4,401 (as of May 31 – total 1,320,799)


  1. Somewhere around 1.5 million American soldiers dead in 12 wars over 275 years. *** And between 1939-45-- 6 million Jews and at least 5 million other 'undesirables' killed by Nazis. *** Plus Rwanda, Darfur, and far too many other genocides. When is 'never again'?

  2. We should never forget those who died so that we could remain free. Once a year is not enough to remember their sacrifice. We should never take our freedom lightly.