Today we have two special posts to share with you, both related to Memorial Day and American Military History. The first is an article we posted a couple of years ago that goes over the origin and history of Memorial Day in America.
The second article is new content we posted this weekend. Atimeline of American wars organized by who the United States fought. This timeline only covers foreign wars and foreign foes, but we hope that this timeline provides some context in regards to American military history and the various military foes that American military personnel have faced since 1775.
The United States, for most of her existence as an independent nation, engaged in wars (against Britain, France, Barbary States in North Africa, and Mexico) where the concept of winning the wars was not automatic. In a very real sense, a relatively week America could have faced defeat in any of those wars. In 1898, however, that changed. The U.S. faced a relatively weak Spain that was desperately trying to hang onto her remaining colonies in the Caribbean and in the Pacific, and possessed a navy that was significantly inferior to the U.S. Navy technologically. After that short, sharp war, the next major test for American military might was in Europe, as part of a coalition of allies fighting against Germany. Once fresh U.S. troops entered the fray, the result was not really in doubt.
In World War Two, despite a string of military defeats in 1941 and 1942, the economic might and sheer size of the U.S. made ultimate victory over Germany and Japan almost inevitable. Since then, the U.S. has not faced any real existential threat to her existence (other than Cold War fears of nuclear war with the Soviets), and even today, enjoys a pre-eminent status as one of the few nations that can easily project power almost anywhere in the world.
Yet, we must remember that every American war and battle comes at a cost. American soldiers, sailors, Marines, and air force personnel risk their lives every day, and, unfortunately, some give their lives in service to their nation. Memorial Day is when we remember those who never came back from those wars.
Below is a photo taken by Historyguy.com’s website editor of a gravesite in Normandy, France. This grave is the final resting place of an American soldier, whose identity was unknown at the time of his burial after the Normandy Invasion in 1944. The cost of war and national defense is very, very real. As always, we hope that you have been able to engage in remembrance of America’s fallen war heroes this Memorial Day weekend.