Memorial Day is our most solemn national holiday. Though current service members and military veterans are often prominent in the ceremonies, the real purpose of the day is to honor America’s war dead. And the ranks of those dead are still growing.
At Georgia Health News, we find it interesting how the tragedy of war has helped shape modern medicine. Large conflicts cause carnage on a scale unseen in ordinary life, and for most of our history, disease was an even greater wartime killer than battles.
In response, people in the healing arts had to innovate. The modern profession of nursing has its roots in 19th-century field hospitals, and some of the pioneers of public health were military doctors trying to avert epidemics. More recently, advances in emergency medicine and prosthetics have owed much to the continuing proliferation of military casualties.
As we pay tribute to the fallen of our nation, it’s good to remember for a moment the heroes of military medicine throughout our history. Those people — the famous and the forgotten — were the ones who struggled to keep the numbers of the dead as low as possible.
Here are Memorial Day articles from GHN news partners:
Rome News-Tribune: Covington family reflect on loss of middle brother
Columbus Ledger-Enquirer: Woman honors memory of fallen soldier
Henry Herald: Memorial Day events scheduled in Henry County
Gerdeen Dyer is associate editor of Georgia Health News.