As we enjoy the BBQs and extra time off, let’s take a minute to reflect on what it is we are celebrating. All too often Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, and the Fourth of July become intertwined with each other because of patriotic outfits and fun in the sun. However, it’s important to pause the festivities for just a moment to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. And that is exactly what Memorial Day is all about; to take a day of reverence and reflection for those American soldiers who died for our freedom.

I was lucky enough to spend my Memorial Day weekend celebrating the union of marriage between two of my best friends. While there, I was surrounded by many veterans that have served and continue to serve our country in the United States Armed Forces. They were nice enough to answer my question:

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

Geno: For me, Memorial Day is a very strong reminder of what our brothers in arms have signed up for. There are some generations that have not known war, and there are some generations in which war is all they knew. Our current generation is especially unique because we have been at conflict for decades now, but since the fight is not on our home turf it’s easy to forget that there are Americans fighting for our freedom every day. Memorial Day serves as that important reminder that there are very special men and women in our country’s history that have cared enough about our country to give their own lives to preserve our virtues and freedom.

Eric: Many say it’s easy to forget what Memorial Day stands for when you’re enjoying festivities with family and friends. However, I challenge that the image of family and friends actually represents what Memorial Day means. The men and women that gave the ultimate sacrifice paid it to protect our freedom and liberties. So that their friends and families could have these blissful days and not worry about the darkness that always is at the door. As Winston Churchill once said, “We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those would harm us.”

Rob got married yesterday!

Rob: Memorial Day is about having a long weekend to barbeque and drink at the beach with family and friends, or that is what the majority of modern-day America truly thinks about.  I think of Memorial Day in a somber light. I’ve cried and drank away the bad memories of the friends I’ve lost.  I’ve cussed at family and friends, who tell me what they think I should do and think, in order to “honor those that have fallen”. Ultimately, we, who have served and bled for this country, did so, so that everyone could enjoy the freedoms that this great nation affords us. Perhaps the best way to honor the fallen is by being at the beach and having a beer and eating a hot dog amongst their closest family and friends.  All I ask, is that however you celebrate Memorial Day, take a moment and think about to those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that you and your loved ones could enjoy each other’s company on this day.