Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, Saint Louis, Mo.

On this Memorial Day weekend 2016, a time when we honor those who sacrificed so that we might run free, we take note that Memorial Day observations are in decline, with fewer than 5 per cent of Americans typically attending a parade or visiting grave sites.  There may be many reasons for this including the dying off of The Greatest Generation, the men who fought in World War II, and whose families bore the burden of their dedication.  1800 WWII vets are dying every day.

But a corollary may be the make-up of our current, all-volunteer force, which consists of less than 0.5 percent of the overall American population, compared with more than 12 percent who served during World War II.

Just 16 years ago a Gallup poll showed that two-thirds of Americans knew exactly what Memorial Day was about.  Little over a decade later a 2011 survey found that 80 per cent of Americans confessed to having “little” or only “some” knowledge of the military holiday first known as Decoration Day.  When we further make note that Americans have increasingly lost confidence in any of the three branches of the government, perhaps it is time to ask, is this the America for which those many, many thousands gave their lives to protect and preserve? Continue reading