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.
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.