It was veteran’s day here in the US, a time we remember those that served in the US armed forces. It coincides with at least two other celebrations that transcend the USA: Armistice day and Remembrance Day. I went to a British school when I was a child, so I was already very familiar with them, having bought my decent share of poppies.
While reflecting about it, I took the opportunity to show my sons how lucky we are. Lucky to be living in the late XX/early XXI centuries. And to appreciate the fact of living in an era of relative peace.
Not long ago, I got a link to fallen.io. The data presented by the project clearly shows a special time in our history, despite what we perceive or think.
In watching it, I couldn’t help stopping many times, and rewind often to double check the staggering numbers of deaths and losses our world has suffered during the 1900’s. This video puts things in a slightly new perspective.
The immensity of this tragedy is difficult to grasp in the abstract, but looking at the graphics is shocking:
- In just 1 day (Omaha Beach, D-Day), more american soldiers died than in 13 years in Irak. 2,500 soldiers died in 1 day…that’s about 15X the size of my company. All those gone, in just 1 day.
- 6 million jews were murdered. A number I knew well, but still shocking to see.
- The USSR lost +20M people…many in combat, many not.
- And more, and more.
Humanity lost so much during WWII that we might never fully grasp its entirety. And we have certainly lost so much in addition to the lives of all those people.
The music that we will never listen to. The gadgets that didn’t get invented. The houses that were not designed and were never built. The children that were never born. The cures not found. The paints not painted. In a nutshell, the enormous opportunity cost of WWII.
A good moment to celebrate the opportunities that we can enjoy. And to renew our commitment to make this pale blue dot, a better place.