INDIANAPOLIS — Memorial Day may be a good time not only to remember people who have died serving our country in the military, but also to talk to young people about the meaning of such a sacrifice, said Brigadier Gen. J. Stewart Goodwin (retired), executive director of Indiana War Memorials.
“I hear people all the time saying, ‘Happy Memorial Day’. Probably not appropriate,” he said. “The fact of the matter is, this is a very solemn time when we honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
Goodwin said the number of people who have given their lives for freedom might astound you. Just one example is from World War I.
“There were 135,000 Hoosiers who served and 3,709 who paid the price.”
Goodwin said in that same war there were ten million military members who gave their lives and seven million civilians.
He also pointed out that the Spanish flu pandemic may have been related to some of the advancements that came from World War I, and the Industrial Revolution that was happening concurrently.
“We actually rode horses into World War I and flew airplanes out of it. So, when people got on airplanes and started travel all over the world, it helped that pandemic to spread,” he said. “The pandemic they had in 1918 affected people from 20 to 40 years of age, which is the prime age for people in the military.”
Goodwin said it may be hard to imagine, with the 24-hour news cycle and everyone being constantly informed, but still scared, just how frightening that time must have been with only minimal ways to get information, like newspapers.
“So, the uncertainty that we felt, having all that coverage, just makes me think that back in those days when they didn’t have that kind of technology to keep them informed, how scary that must’ve been.”