Memorial Day is the day our nation pays tribute to everyone who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces, particularly the approximately 1.2 million American service members killed during our nation's wars, declared and undeclared.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

That's a staggering number, enough to fill Yankee Stadium . . . more than 24 times. We can go back through those wars and pick out the ones we agree with and the ones we don't. These dead were not afforded that luxury. They swore to serve, then did so. The roots of Memorial Day make that clear, as it originated after the Civil War to honor soldiers on both sides of our most divisive conflict.

Take a moment to pay tribute to the astonishing number of heroes who fell in the service of an astonishingly wonderful nation.