When I get swept up in the beach chairs and bar-b-ques of this long weekend, I try to remember what we are celebrating. It is easy to forget that this is more than just a day off-it is a time to remember.
I have a tremendous respect for the men and women (and let's face it-often boys and girls) who choose to serve their country in the ultimate fashion. That respect has only grown in the last 9 years as the chances of being sent to war and to stay longer and longer seem to increase with each passing day. No matter the risk, these brave Americans continue to report for duty.
In recent years, I have found I have developed an even greater respect for the families of these men and women. For some reason I seem to befriend an inordinate amount of military families. Perhaps it's my geographic location or perhaps I seek out the compassion and strength that these women and men must have in order to do their jobs. Whatever the case, I have learned so much from the families that I am friends with. I have seen that their sacrifices are great. They lend us their fathers, mothers, husbands and wives to go off and fight or to stay and train those who do. They lend us their loved ones for our freedom and they do it all while tending to their families and communities alone back home. Military families work their lives around service times and places with barely a complaint. The families of our military men and women are often the driving force behind the heroic Marines, Rangers, SEALS etc. that we hear about in the news. It is their support that gives these heroes the strength to do what they do. Today we recognize the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom. And that is how it should be, for it is because of their willingness to give their lives that we continue to live free. So let us use today as a time to give them our respect and recognize that we owe them more than we can ever repay. But tomorrow, perhaps you can also think of their families. The families of those who have died for our freedom and of those that continue to serve and protect it every single day.Continued on the next page