On May 29, 2004, America dedicated the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., which pays tribute to all Americans who served in history’s most terrible war. Inscribed near a wall honoring those who gave their lives in World War II is a simple statement from Harry S. Truman: “Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.
At this time of year, when Americans kick off their summers with holiday weekend vacations and barbecues, it is good to pause and remember our countrymen who have answered the call to serve, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Conflict: Revolutionary War (1775–1783)
U.S. Military Deaths: 25,000
Conflict: War of 1812 (1812–1815)
U.S. Military Deaths: 20,000
Conflict: Mexican War (1846–1848)
U.S. Military Deaths: 13,300
Conflict: Civil War (1861–1865)
U.S. Military Deaths: Union 360,000 | Confederate 260,000
Conflict: Spanish-American War (1898)
U.S. Military Deaths: 2,500
Conflict: World War I (1917–1918)
U.S. Military Deaths: 116,500
Conflict: World War II (1941–1945)
U.S. Military Deaths: 405,400
Conflict: Korean War (1950–1953)
U.S. Military Deaths: 36,600
Conflict: Vietnam War (1964–1973)
U.S. Military Deaths: 58,200
Conflict: Persian Gulf War (1990–1991)
U.S. Military Deaths: 380
Conflict: Afghanistan (2001– )
U.S. Military Deaths: 1,000**
Conflict: Iraq War (2003– )
U.S. Military Deaths: 4,400**
*Includes battlefield and other deaths, such as soldiers who died of disease. Because official records may be incomplete, especially prior to World War I, military death figures are estimates.
**Approximate military deaths as of June 1, 2010.