This Memorial Day, remember the individuals who gave their lives

On Memorial Day, Americans remember and honor those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. When you look at the numbers – 4,435 in the Revolutionary War, 405,399 in World War Two, 90,220 in Vietnam – you can almost forget the individuals who make them up, each of them with their own families, friends, hopes, and dreams. To imagine the true nature of these people’s sacrifices, it can help to look at an individual. This video clip from Ken Burns’ incomparable series The Civil War, does just that for one of the 498,332 Americans killed in the Civil War, Sullivan Ballou.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment.