Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was officially observed on May 30, 1868 to decorate the graves of soldiers who died during the Civil War. After World War One, it changed to become a day to honor American soldiers who died during wartime throughout American history. Later the name was changed to Memorial Day.
The following list the wars and the number of soldiers who died in battle only. There were many more who died from disease and other factors. All figures are approximate.
American Revolution (1775-1783): 4,435 deaths
War of 1812 (1812-1815): 2,260 deaths
Indian Wars (1817-1898): 1,000 deaths
Mexican War (1846-1848): 1,733 deaths
Civil War (1861-1865): Union deaths 140,414; Confederate deaths 74,524
Spanish American War (1898): 385 deaths
World War 1 (1914-1918): 53,402 deaths
World War 2 (1939-1945): 291,557 deaths
Korean War (1950-1953) 33,741 deaths
Vietnam War (1954-1975) 47,424 deaths
Persian Gulf War (1990-1991) 147 deaths
Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan (2001-present) 1,030 deaths
Iraq War (2003-present) 4,491 deaths
We honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom. Please comment by listing names of those you know who have died in service to their country and the war the fought in.
A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself. ~Joseph Campbell