It is wonderful to see Texas Tech will honor “Lone Survivor” author Marcus Luttrell and other Purple Heart awardees Saturday during the Tech football game. Here is a story about those Purple Hearts.

On Aug. 1, 1945, the population of the U.S. was about 135 million and World War II in Europe was over. The war in the Pacific was not, and plans were being laid for the invasion of the Japanese homeland — Kyushu first, then months later, Honshu.

At the same time, 416,000 Americans had been killed in combat during World War II. Today, the U.S. population is about 310 million, and after 6,000 combat deaths from Iraq and Afghanistan, we are rightfully war weary.

Imagine the physical and mental toll on the nation in 1945. In addition to the loss of 416,000 sons, brothers, uncles and dads, the nation had endured the strain of a global war as well as shortages of meat, gasoline, tires, sugar and many other things for years.

With the anticipated Japanese invasion in November 1945, military planners anticipated high casualties, with some estimates of 500,000 American deaths, as well as perhaps 10-20 million Japanese. Consequently, the U.S. government requisitioned the casting of hundreds of thousands of Purple Heart medals.

After the war ended abruptly following the bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki as well as the Russians declaring war and invading Manchuria, the Japanese surrendered and the invasion plans became moot.

Since that time, from Korea to Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Afghanistan and all other combat endeavors, we still have not run out of those Purple Heart medals. Those intended for Americans wounded or killed in the anticipated 1945 invasion of Japan are still available and being awarded today.

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