Monday, May 26, 2014

Lest we forget

Since today (Monday, May 26 -- yesterday if you're in Australia) is Memorial Day in the United States, I choose to use my blog to honor two young men whose names appear on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C.

The first, Captain Edward Wilson Griffith (1941-1969) , was the brother of my blogger friend Pat - An Arkansas Stamper.

The second, First Lieutenant Edwin Steven Brague, Jr. (1943-1967) , shares my surname but I have not yet determined the relationship, if any, between us.

Since Brague is not a common surname, I used to think that everyone named Brague must be related. But after I discovered that Brague is the name of a river in France, I have come to believe that perhaps the Bragues of today share a common area of origin geographically but are not necessarily related. I intend to keep investigating.

Twenty-eight-year-old Captain Griffith (Panel W25, line 48) was from Jacksonville, Arkansas. He died on May 11, 1969 during hostile ground fighting in Kontum Province, South Vietnam. His body was recovered and is interred at Little Rock National Cemetery in Arkansas.

Twenty-three-year-old Lieutenant Brague (Panel 13E, Line 120) was from Ridgewood, New Jersey. He was the pilot of a helicopter that crashed during hostilities in Quang Tin, South Vietnam, on January 7, 1967. His body was recovered also and is interred in Pennsylvania.

These are but two of the 58,272 names inscribed on the wall as of 2011. Today Americans also remember the fallen of other wars in our nation’s history. The major conflicts were:

American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) : 25,000
War of 1812 (1812-1815) : 20,000
Mexican-American War (1846-1848) : 13,283
Civil War (1861-1865) : 625,000
Spanish-American War (1898) : 2,446
Philippine-American War (1898-1913) : 4,196
World War I (1917-1918) : 116,516
World War II (1941-1945) : 405,399
Korean War (1950-1953) : 36,516
Vietnam War (1955-1975) : 58,209
Afghanistan (2001- ) : 3,441 as of May 24, 2014
Iraq (2003-2012) : 4,804

Sources: U.S. Army Military History Institute;; Wikipedia

Click here to see Captain Griffith’s grave in the national cemetery in Little Rock (photo by his sister, our good friend Pat).

Finally, click here to read a good Memorial Day post by another cyberfriend, Michael Burns of Carlsbad, California (our good friend Reamus).

Everyone who plans to concentrate on boats, barbecue, or baseball today should read it.


  1. The death stats put the American Civil War into proper but terrible perspective. How a young nation could turn in on itself like that and claw at its own entrails with such deadly bitterness beggars belief.

  2. RWP:

    Thanks for the link.

    I believe I knew the Ed Brague listed on the wall. I was born in NY, raised in New Jersey and played Rigewood High in sports. I am sure there was a Brague the same years I was in high school, I am not positive he was the same one, but recall his name as Ed.


  3. Too many died too young - and many of those who returned left their youth on the battlefield as well.

  4. Yorkshire Pudding, the American Civil War also included the deadliest single day in American warfare at the Battle of Antietam (or Sharpsburg), Maryland, where nearly 25,000 people died. More Americans died in the Civil War than in World Wars I and II combined.

    Reamus, what a small world it turns out to be if that is the case. I believe I remember a comment on one website from a neighbor of theirs who referred to Edwin Steven Brague Jr. as "Steve"....

    Elephant's Child, what you say is all too tragically true.

  5. Hi, thanks for your blog. I'm Steven Brague's cousin and am also a Brague. He did go by Steven or Steve...his father was my Uncle Ed. I'd love to find out if we are related in some way.

  6. Per Yorkie's comment, the Civil War still marks the greatest American loss of life in any war, and to think that it happened 150 years ago when the population was far less. Of all who died, it was only known what happened to half of them.

    I thought about war today too, but my thoughts ran along the lines of wondering why politicians are blamed for wars that are later seen as senseless while the soldiers who fought those wars are considered heroes no matter what they died for. Maybe the reason is that they did die. Whether the cause was right or not, they gave their all, and it's in poor taste to speak ill of the dead on the day of their remembrance. This leaves me feeling empty and sad, but far from gungho .

  7. Gerry, let's talk. You can contact me by email at

    Snowbrush, the U.S. population in 1860 was 31 million, so 625,000 dead in the Civil War was two percent of the population. Today, two percent of our current population of 320,000,000 people would be six million people.

  8. Oh how exciting, Bob! Please do tell us when you've established whether you and Gerry are related or not. I can see straight away that you share surnames, faith, beard shapes, an interest in blogging and the same lovely twinkle in your eyes...I've got a good feeling about this. xx

  9. Elizabeth, he looks a little like my dad, as a matter of fact. Time will tell.

  10. "Snowbrush, the U.S. population in 1860 was 31 million, so 625,000 dead in the Civil War was two percent of the population. Today, two percent of our current population of 320,000,000 people would be six million people."

    Hours after I wrote this, I watched a show on PBS about the trauma of so many deaths, and that show stated that more Americans died in the Civil War than in all of the rest of America's wars combined.

  11. Snowbrush, I almost included that fact in my previous reply to you, but I didn't want to burden my readers with information overload.