Memorial Day was established to honor those who have died in American wars. It is intended to be a day of remembrance and tribute. Many Americans, like me, have a very personal reason to commemorate this somber day.
My dad served for 26 years in the United States Air Force. Until I was almost 40, I had either a military family member ID card in my wallet or an active duty one. I know the sacrifices soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines make to serve their country … and those made by their family members. The ultimate sacrifice is giving your life.
Growing up on Air Force bases, everyone I knew was connected to the military. All my friends had moms and dads who served. As we’ve aged and lost parents, most of us have endured a military funeral.
Even with the solemnity of this day, though, there is a reason to celebrate. Every veteran I know will tell you the reason for raising your hand and swearing your enlistment oath is to protect our freedom. What better way to pay tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice than to hoist a flag, raise a beer and toast our nation with family and friends.
So, as you enjoy the holiday and unofficial kick-off to summer, please take a moment to remember those who gave their lives so you could enjoy yours and embrace the gratitude and joy of living in a nation that is strong and free.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. I am proud to explore it as an American.
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