When we pause this Memorial Day to remember departed military members, a look at the numbers killed in this nation’s wars causes a longer pause. They call killed in combat, or death from other causes while serving, the ultimate sacrifice. No one will argue that point.

The most costly war in the nation’s history was the Civil War from 1861-1865. The estimate is that it caused 625,000 deaths. The nation had a population of 31.4 million in those years. The second most costly in deaths  was World War II, 1941-45, with 405,399 killed or died while in military service. The country had a population of 133.4 million at that time.

Ranking third was World War I with 116,516 deaths in the 1917-18 “war to end all wars.” The U.S. population was 103.2 million in that era. 

The Vietnam War, 1961-1975, resulted in 58,209 deaths, with the country’s population at 179.3 million. The estimate for the Korean War was 36,516 deaths. It was fought from 1950 to 1953. The U. S. population was about 151.3 million.

The War on Terrorism from 2001 to the present is an estimated 6,717 deaths. The population of the country today is about 294 million.

All of these numbers are estimates. They will be found in Wikipedia. For some time, the deaths in the Korean War were listed as around 55,000. However, that number was reduced to 36,516 later. We don’t know why a mistake that large was made.

There were many other conflicts in which military lives were lost, we mentioned just the largest.

We need to recognize and thank all of the veterans’ organizations that  conduct special programs to honor the war dead and all who have