Memorial Day when I was growing up was always a big deal.  My grandmother would come stay for a week or so, and Mom and Grandma would take a whole day to go visit all the cemeteries around and decorate the graves of family members who had gone on before us.   On my dad’s side, however, we had Grandpa — a WWI vet, and my Dad and most of his brothers were WWII vets.  There was always a parade . Grandpa very proudly dressed up to ride on the float. My Grandpa and my Dad were true heroes.

Memorial Day was originally set aside to remember our fallen heroes, who died while in service for our nation.  I do believe it is fitting and appropriate to extend Memorial Day to ALL  of our military, past and present, because the sacrifices they make  are very real.  Even if they don’t lose their life while in battle, they willingly give up so much just to defend our freedom.  Many of our servicemen  are not home with their wives as their children are being born.  They miss out on precious firsts, and major achievements.  They are not home for birthdays and celebrations.   There are so many things that we take for granted, freedoms that we enjoy because of brave men and women; that they miss out on while they are serving our country.  My Dad was actually still in Germany when my older sister was born; and then his beautiful wife passed away, due to complications of childbirth.

And let’s not forget the families of  our brave service men and women.  Behind every one is a proud family.  A family who is supporting them 100%.  A family who is missing their husband, father, wife, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister.  And although their heart aches to have them home in their arms, they understand the need and are willing to make that sacrifice.

So today, I proudly salute all of our military men and women, past present, and future. They are true heroes. I gratefully thank them and their families for the sacrifices they make for my freedom.  And I vow to not take that freedom for granted.