The US military has had “bad days” before. Take, for example, September 17, 1862, when the Union and Confederate Armies, meeting in battle near Antietam, Maryland, suffered 22,720 casualties – including 3,650 confirmed fatalities. That was a bad day.
Or consider June 6, 1944, when American, British, and Canadian forces suffered almost 9,000 casualties – including 3,000 dead in the first day of the Normandy Campaign. Why are these numbers so approximate? Because they didn’t have time to count and bury the dead until a few days later. Imagine the horror of the survivors.
Or how about the month-long battle for Iwo Jima, February – March 1945, when the US lost 6,821 killed, 19,217 wounded, and 2,648 suffered from combat fatigue – in other words, they were so “shell-shocked” that they were permanently relieved from combat duty. That was a really bad month.
It’s important to remember, however, that in each of these cases, we carried on undaunted in our mission, and ultimately achieved victory. Every soldier’s death, whether in war or peace, is a tragedy for those who are left behind. But no single loss should deter us from completing our important work.