It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.
- George S. Patton, June 7, 1945.
On this Memorial Day, we remember those members of the armed forces of the United States who have given their lives in the service of this, our Republic. We are and will always remain thankful for their service.
Now, a few links and thoughts as we enjoy the holiday. The Department of Defense has a fairly new podcast called Armed with Science, discussing the ever-present symbiosis between science and the art of war. For a few hours a while back the ScienceBlogs Page 3.14 blog linked to it before protests from a number of ScienceBloggers who think that science and the military should be entirely unconnected. A pox on that. Modern war – like all wars – is a terrible thing, but next to the indiscriminate near-complete bloodbaths that were the wars of the pre-modern era the rates of survival for both combatants and civilians are vastly greater. It is to science that we owe this, and it’s to the efforts of the military science of the United States and its allies that we owe much of that science. In WWII alone, scientific advances turned the tide for the Allies on numerous occasions: the invention of radar helped decide the Battle of Britain and the Battle of the Atlantic, and the mathematical breakthroughs which cracked the Enigma code – just to name two of the most dramatic instances.
It’s also a good time to point out a great Memorial Day post from Starts With a Bang remembering the astronauts who have died in the space program, from Gemini-era training accidents to the Columbia.
Keep in mind the reason for the holiday, and have a fun extended weekend with your family and loved ones.