Platelets are small anucleate cells generated from megakaryocytes in the bone marrow. Although platelet generation, maturation, and clearance are still not fully understood, significant progress has been made in the last 1-2 decades. In blood circulation, platelets can quickly adhere and aggregate at sites of vascular injury, forming the platelet plug (i.e. the first wave of hemostasis). Activated platelets can also provide negatively charged phosphatidylserinerich membrane surface that enhances cell-based thrombin generation, which facilitates blood coagulation (i.e. The second wave of hemostasis). Platelets therefore play central roles in hemostasis. However, the same process of hemostasis may also cause thrombosis and vessel occlusion, which are the most common mechanisms leading to heart attack and stroke following ruptured atherosclerotic lesions. In this review, we will introduce the classical mechanisms and newly discovered pathways of platelets in hemostasis and thrombosis, including fibrinogen-independent platelet aggregation and thrombosis, and the plasma fibronectin-mediated ‘‘protein wave’’ of hemostasis that precedes the classical first wave of hemostasis. Furthermore, we briefly discuss the roles of platelets in inflammation and atherosclerosis and the potential strategies to control atherothrombosis.