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Today is the 17th Memorial Day since 9/11. Since then, 6,940 U.S. military service members have died for America.

Why it matters: Every part of the country has lost soldiers to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. All were Americans — someone's neighbor, child, parent, mentor, buddy. Their average age was between 26 and 27 years old.

Expand chart
Data: Defense Casualty Analysis System, U.S. Census Bureau 2016 population estimates; Note: Map does not include 111 servicemembers who came from outside the 50 states; Get the data; Map: Harry Stevens/Axios

The big picture: The losses have not been distributed evenly. The Bible Belt, the Rust Belt, and the Midwest had the most military deaths in proportion to their populations – though that's often because counties in those regions have small populations that skew the data. Among counties with a population greater than one million, Bexar County, Tex., home to San Antonio, suffered the highest rate of military deaths for its population: 59 servicemembers killed out of a population of 1,928,680.

Many of the dead came from big cities — 167 hailed from Los Angeles County, the most of any county. Others came from more remote places, like Mineral County, Colo., population 732, home to Sgt. Clinton Wayne Ahlquist, who was killed in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, on Feb. 20, 2007, at the age of 23. Of all U.S. counties, Mineral County has the highest rate of servicemembers killed in proportion to population.

By the numbers:

  • Most of the fallen — 5,019 men and women — served in the Army. Another 1,484 were in the Marines, while 248 were in the Navy, and 189 were in the Air Force.
  • The state with the highest rate of servicemembers killed was Vermont — the state lost 26 troops out of a population of about 624,000. The state with the lowest rate was nearby Connecticut.
  • 6,772 of the fallen were men, and 168 were women.

Correction: Due to a data analysis error, the populations of 36 counties in Louisiana were incorrect. As a result, an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that three parishes in Louisiana were among the top five places in the country for military deaths per population. The map and story have been updated to reflect the correct data.

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Go deeper

Updated 15 mins ago - World

Gaza crisis: Casualties pile up with no signs of ceasefire from Israel, Hamas

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip leave their neighborhood on Wednesday following an explosion. Photo: li Jadallah/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Tel Aviv — With Israel and Hamas now engaged in their most destructive fight in seven years, the Biden administration is dispatching a State Department official to join the de-escalation efforts.

The latest: The Israeli air force attacked a meeting of senior Hamas military leaders on Wednesday in Gaza and reported it had killed the Gaza City Brigade commander and the heads of Hamas’ cyber arm and weapons research and development department, along with at least three other senior officials.

Former Pentagon chief blames media "hysteria" for lack of troops on Jan. 6

Former acting Secretary of Defense Chris Miller told the House Oversight Committee Wednesday that he limited the deployment of National Guard troops at the Capitol ahead of Jan. 6 in part due to media "hysteria" about "the possibility of a military coup."

Why it matters: William Walker, commanding general of the D.C. National Guard, previously testified that a three-hour delay in approval for National Guard assistance during the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was exacerbated by "unusual" restrictions on his authorities by Pentagon leadership.

2 hours ago - World

Negotiations to oust Netanyahu stall amid Jerusalem crisis

Netanyahu holds a cabinet meeting this week. Photo: Amit Shabi/POOL/AFP via Getty

Efforts to form a new Israeli government and oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have come to an almost complete halt amid the escalation with Hamas.

Why it matters: Opposition leader Yair Lapid is six days into a 28-day mandate, and seemed on track to strike a coalition deal with Naftali Bennett, a right-wing kingmaker. But the latest crisis could make those efforts nearly impossible.

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