Section 60 is where Iraq and Afghanistan casualties are buried in Arlington Cemetery. The “Section 60” documentary on HBO is a moving reminder that war comes with a huge cost. This special takes a quiet look at mothers, wives, children, and others who come to visit the graves of their deceased family members.
They lie on the graves, decorate them, speak to their lost husband or child, have their children place flowers or cards on daddy’s grave, and share their sorrow over their extreme loss. I cried throughout the documentary. Their losses are the losses of all Americans.
Today we celebrate and remember the sacrifices of all Americans who have served in the Armed Forces. The U.S. Government website provides these statistics about vets:
- There are currently about 25 million living veterans.
- Over 48 million Americans have served in the military during war and peace since 1776.
- Every year, about 80,000 veterans are buried in one of the cemeteries of the National Cemetery system.
- More than 260,000 are buried at Arlington Cemetry. Veterans from every war the U.S. has fought are buried here, going all the way back to the American Revolution.
We are reminded of the current sacrifices with these grim statistics about current U.S. wars:
- To date, 4,193 deaths have been confirmed in Iraq.
- To date, 609 deaths have been confirmed in Afghanistan.
The numbers are a staggering reminder of just how much war has been a part of our country’s history. Almost one in twelve people currently living in the U.S. is a veteran.
Probably most people have a family member or friend who has served in the military. My ex-husband was a Marine officer, served in Okinawa under Captain Oliver North, and briefly inserted into Vietnam to help get people out at the very end of the war. An ex-boyfriend served in Iraq and saw two of his men blown to smithereens in front of him as they drove trucks out of Iraq to Kuwait to come home. He has suffered greatly with Combat Stress Disorder and testified about the devastating effects of that before Congress. An uncle was a doctor in the Vietnam war.
We have all been touched by war and by the heroism and courage of those who have fought in wars and kept our country safe in times of peace. Today we remember them and thank them for their service. Our freedom began with the courage of our Founding Fathers and the American Revolution and continues with the courage of those serving today.
We can all hope that President-Elect Obama will steer our country to being a peaceful nation that works with others in a conciliatory manner rather than being an unnecessary aggressor. May we have the courage to lead the world in showing that peace and working together to resolve our differences are real possibilities.