1.3 millions Americans military personnel have lost their lives in wars since the founding of our nation. Memorial Day, invented after the Civil War, the most costly war in U.S. history accounting for nearly half of all such deaths, is a day for remembering their sacrifice. It should be a solemn day and one can only wonder why it has become as much a day for pre-summer sales and commerce as for remembrance. But there is another point to be made, which is simply tthat such remembrances and mourning is not just American but cosmopolitan. Somewhere between 22 and 25 million military personnel died in World War II (and that pales in comparison to the total loss of 62 million people overall). Of that 22-25 million, approximately 416,000 were Americans, a grim reminder that such remembrance and mourning should be located, at least in part, as a matter of cosmopolitan interest and concern.
The photograph above shows a slice of such remembrance, as the caption identifies a woman who pauses in the Potocari Cemetery (Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina), which holds the remains of some of the more than 8,000 victims of the Srebrenica massacre of July 1995, the largest mass murder in Europe since WWII. Bosnian Serb troops led by Ratko Mladic carried out a genocidal spree of rape and murder on the mostly Muslim refugees who were there, a previous UN ”safe area.”
Photo Credit: Fabrizio Lasorsa/Eidon Press/ZUMAPRESS.com