Since recorded history, one of the tragedies of man's existence is war. Wars are started by leaders and finished by citizens of the country they represent - and always at a terrible cost in human lives.
These memorials will help you appreciate the sacrifices made so Americans can enjoy the freedoms of today. Figures inscribed on the memorials include both combat-related deaths and non-hostile (accident, disease, etc.) deaths.
It is the intent that the reader who moves to each of the stations will reflect as to why we have provided these monuments in our Memorial Park - "Lest We Forget" our history and the sacrifices of many that have made America the great nation that it is.
April 19, 1775 - September 3, 1783
Dead 25,324 · Wounded 8,445
The quest for a government that would foster the freedoms we now enjoy spawned the development of our nation's laws.
American colonists enjoyed the freedoms of their new homeland. Yet, over the years, the British continued to abuse American rights and liberties. "The revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people," said John Adams. So, on July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence.
This war gave birth to a new nation that won its freedom on the battlefield, soon becoming a beacon of liberty in the Western Hemisphere.
War of 1812
June 8, 1812 - February 17, 1815
Dead 2,784 · Wounded 4,505
Although regional opposition to our second war with Britain was strong, it was fought for U.S. maritime rights and allowed for expansion into the Old Northwest (Ohio region) and the Southwest. By heightening our sense of national purpose, the War of 1812 increased national patriotism and unity. It also signaled significant strides toward cultural, political and economic independence, including consolidation of the nation's military establishment and a rapid rise in manufacturing. From this point on, the U.S. and Britain have settled their international disputes peacefully.
May 8, 1846 - February 2, 1848
Dead 3,283 · Wounded 4,152
America's first full-fledged foreign land war expanded the United States from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean, making the nation a continental power. The acquisition of the lands resulting from the Mexican War eventually created most or all of six new Southwestern states. Though controversial, especially in New England, the war changed the entire course of American history by giving the nation a direct stake in the affairs of Asia.
The war also extended the debate over slavery in relation to the organization of the newly acquired territory from Mexico. A political by-product of the was was intensification of the debate over slavery and setting in motion a chain of events that led to the Civil War.
April 12, 1861 - May 26, 1865
Union & Confederate Casualties
Dead 618,022 · Wounded 382,881
One of the greatest tragedies and challenges any country can experience is civil war. America's Civil War tested a young nation. It transformed the entire country from adolescence to maturity. It turned brother against brother, separated and destroyed families and friends, and was a turning point in U.S. history. On its outcome hinged the survival of a unified nation, the maintenance of majority rule, and the success of the American experiment in liberty and equality.
April 21 - August 12, 1898
Dead 2,983 · Wounded 1,637
February 4, 1899 - July 4, 1902
Dead 4,273 · Wounded 2,840
The United States became a world power as a direct result of the war against Spain. Spain was ejected from the Western Hemisphere and Cuba won its freedom. The resulting build-up of U.S. international defenses, including construction of the Panama Canal, catapulted the country into colonial power politics. America found itself engaged in a highly controversial colonial war in the Philippines with far-reaching strategic and political repercussions during the 20th century.
Some Americans thought such imperial holdings were of dubious value - embroiling the U.S. in the affairs of nations in which it had no business. Others believed it was America's destiny to branch out across the Pacific. One indisputable fact remains - the nation's foreign policy course was unalterably changed forever.
World War I
April 6, 1917 - November 11, 1918
Dead 116,708 · Wounded 204,002
The American public was decidedly opposed to intervention in Europe's war. Germany's attacks on and sinking of United States merchant and unarmed passenger ships, however, caused our nation to declare war on the Central Powers (Germany and Austria-Hungary). America's military involvement in the war lifted Allied morale and strengthened their battered armies.
Defeat of the Central Powers advanced the principle of self-determination. Independence was granted to subject peoples, creating new nations in Europe.
World War II
Dec. 7, 1941 - Sept. 2, 1945
Dead 408,306 · Wounded 670,846
In 1941, when the United States was forced into war after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the entire country gathered together to create a unified effort against the Axis powers whose plan was to dominate the world. American men, women, and machines were sent all over the world to various fronts, into combat and into history. Those men and women have been called the greatest generation any society has ever produced. Their effort and sacrifice changed the course of world history.
June 25, 1950 - July 27, 1953
Dead 36,891 · Wounded 103,284
Only five years had passed since the end of World War II. A war-weary United States was drawn into a major international conflict as North Korea attacked South Korea. Determined to support the world's imperiled democracies, the United States led a United Nations force into combat. That force rolled Communist aggression back across the 38th Parallel and allowed South Korea to develop a stable nation.
They went not for conquest and not for gain,
but only to protect the anguished and the innocent.
They suffered greatly and by their heroism
in a thousand forgotten battles they added a
luster to the codes we hold most dear:
duty, honor, country, fidelity, bravery, integrity...
Former FBI Director and Korean War veteran
August 4, 1964 - January 27, 1973
Dead 58,220 · Wounded 153,303
Our nation's involvement in the Vietnam War divided American society. Many Americans felt we should not have intervened. But America wanted to stem the tide of communism in Asia. United States advisors arrived as early as 1950. GI's became directly involved in combat in 1965. United States military intervention ended in March 1973. Approximately 2.6 million Americans served in the war zone. Despite the political outcome, American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines fought with heroism and determination under some of the most difficult circumstances ever encountered by American military personnel.
Post World War II
1945 to Present · Dead 932
Military operations since 1945 have served varied purposes. Other than war, our military forces have been used to keep world peace, advise and defend allies, demonstrate diplomatic resolve, maintain freedom of the seas, rescue hostages, evacuate American citizens, avert full-scale war and thwart terrorism. Tragically, war and terrorist strikes continue to take innocent human life.
Many of the actions up through 1989 fall collectively under the Cold War - the struggle against international communism in which 357 of our military were killed as a result of hostile actions. Since communism's collapse, most U.S. military efforts have been dedicated to peacekeeping. Nine hundred and thirty two men and women have lost their lives during this service as of the year 2000.
Lest We Forget
Freedom is Not Free
Fix your eyes upon the greatness of your country
as you have it before you day by day.
And when you feel her great,
remember that her greatness
was won by men with courage,
with knowledge of their duty
and with a sense of honor in action,
who, even if they failed in some venture,
would not think of depriving
their country of their powers
but laid them at her feet as their fairest offering.
Pericles 490 B.C. - 429 B.C.