We live in the land of the free because of the brave and while I’m grateful for their service, I often do not pause enough to reflect on the immense sacrifice our brave men and women in the military have made for us.   This Memorial Day I’m going to do just that: take time to remember those who have served. When I really take the time to stop and think, I’m overwhelmed by all of it. And I’m just so humbled by their service and I’m grateful there are those willing to put themselves in danger to protect me and my family and our freedoms.

This Memorial Day, I’m going to thank not only the brave men and women in uniform, but I want to thank all of their family and friends, for putting the rest of us first.

Thank you, soldiers, for your service to the United States. Thank you for being brave when faced with scary uncertainty. Thank you for your willingness to go where needed, to spend days and months and years away from your home and your loved ones for your deployments. Thank you for facing frightening things on foreign soil for all of us. Thank you for putting your life on the line for our freedom. And for those who made the ultimate sacrifice, we are forever grateful for you.

Thank you, families, for being strong even during times when you didn’t feel like it, for carrying on even when the days it felt really, really hard. Thank you for enduring weeks and months and years of worry during long deployments. Thank you for loving and supporting our soldiers while missing them terribly. Thank you for valiantly dealing with life here without them. Thank you for everything you gave up and you put on the line, too, for the rest of us.

This Memorial Day, let’s all take a moment to thank those currently serving in all branches of our military. Spend time with them, listen to their stories and let them know you appreciate them. If you have a family member who was lost in a war, perhaps it’s possible for you to visit the cemetery and lay some flowers on their grave. Share stories and memories of them, honoring their life and their bravery.

As we make plans for backyard barbeques or hit up the swimming pool as it opens for the season, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters this Memorial Day. This year I encourage you to join me in remembering what this holiday is really about.