Memorial Day is a day of mixed emotion for many people. It's a day of remembrance and a day of celebration. It's a day of sadness and a day of fun. No matter how you observe it, as long as there is recognition of the day's true meaning, that's fine. The people we remember would want it this way.
This holiday was formally implemented following the Civil War. Informally there were other observances of those who fought and died for their country, but eventually it became a national holiday after so much blood was lost by so many. It's fitting and right that a day be set aside for this day of reflection.
The men and women who have died in the service of our country should never be forgotten, and they won't be by the vast majority of people. Their service and ultimate sacrifices are the foundation on which our country stands. Through them, and those who fought beside them, we enjoy the freedoms we experience every day. Through them, we can spend this weekend enjoying our lives and families, and the fact we are Americans.
Memorial Day is also about remembering all of those who we've personally lost over the years. It's a day to reflect on what they meant to us, how much we miss them, and the joy they brought to us during their own lives. It also reminds us that time is short for all of us and to live life to the fullest while we are on this earth. Time marches on, even if we don't.
On this holiday made for remembering our war dead, and now for also remembering friends and family who went before us, we must embrace those memories, recount those lives, appreciate the great sacrifices made before us - often for us - and pause to consider lives lost.
To some it might seem morbid, but there's nothing wrong with keeping someone in your heart or honoring men and women for service they provided our country. In fact, it's something we should do.
Most of the men and women we remember this weekend were never known personally, but we hold a solid bond of being fellow countrymen. We shared a common bond: a common value system and a common existence on this planet.
So while the barbecues are cranked up and the lake or beach is inviting, take time to honor those folks who went before us. It's because of them that we are who we are and live how we live. Regardless of the circumstance, that's cause for celebration.