The Daily ReTORt

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Military Touches Many of Our Lives

Yesterday was Memorial Day and I find it interesting how quickly most of us get back to our "normal" lives once the long holiday weekend is over. After the parades end and the marching bands put their instruments away, Memorial Day gets tucked away like every other holiday until next year.

But it's not like any other holiday, and we can't forget that.

For those military folk that are in harm's way - and their families - it's more than a holiday. It's their very life and sometimes their death.

The fact is that many of us are touched by the military in some way or form. This link to Population Bulletin, an academic web site that provides analysis on social and political trends, notes the following statistics – all of which can be accessed at the link below:

• There are an estimated 1.4 million active duty Americans in the four branches of the military;
• Those military personnel have 1.9 million dependents (e.g. wives, husbands or children);
• While there are 26 million living Americans who served at sometime.

It's amazing that in a country with an estimated population of 305 million people, there are fewer than half-of-one percent of Americans currently in the military protecting us against foreign threats.

Despite the differences among its branches, the military in general has a strong unifying core. That unifying core is suggested in results from a non-scientific poll that had respondents list each military branch where they knew someone who served – multiple answers were allowed.

The small sample (<35=n) showed significant overlap where 75 percent of those surveyed knew someone in the Army, Marines and/or Navy; 41 percent knew someone in the Air Force; and 25 percent knew someone in the National Guard. That overlap implies a tacit connection to each military member that transcends their respective branch. A connection that reaches far into the lives of us civilians, also known as the “many who owe so much to so few.”


  1. This is my first time to your blog - so just taking a look around. But, wanted to say thank you for this particular post. I am a veteran myself, and have a family history of military service. For me, it was an honor to serve, and I am proud of the time I spent on active duty, clear across the world. Anyway, I am not trying to go off on a bunny trail. I really did just want to say hi, and thank you for this post. I am off to read more of your blog now.

  2. Hi Laura,
    Firsth - thanks for your service to our country, it truly is appreciated! You've done what MOST of us are unwilling or able to do - so thanks! I hope you come back and share your thoughts again!