This is the weekend. It's the unofficial beginning of summer with people going to lakes, beaches, pools, barbecues and sales galore. It's Memorial Day weekend. I think some folks may have this holiday confused with Veterans Day. Memorial Day is to remember all of the men and women who died while serving their country. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. veterans. I'm not judging, just making a statement. I, too, have been caught up in the barbecues, heading to the beach or the pool, not really giving a second thought to the reason for the holiday. Guilty as charged. I know better. My father was in the Army. My husband served almost 30 years and now my youngest is serving. Honestly, it wasn't until my youngest joined did my awareness go up exponentially. I know, crazy due to my background. I think it has to do with the fact I carried him for nine months. It's very different when you send the one you marry than the one you carry. It's interesting, my other two children are more aware now too since their younger brother is a young infantryman who earned his combat infantryman's badge while in Afghanistan. All of us are thankful he came home. So, as I sit here in the comfort of my home with the freedom to practice religion how I see fit, speak my mind without fear of going to jail or death and write this, I'm thankful for many things. Selfishly, I'm thankful I've never heard the words "On behalf of a grateful nation ," while being handed a folded flag for my husband or my son. I've watched that, it's hard, heartbreaking. I am eternally grateful and thankful for the lives of the men and women who went before to face evil and tyranny to protect our way of life and others. I'm thankful for the men and women who continue to join our armed forces. We have some Gold Star families in our communities. If you know who they are, please let them know you appreciate the family's gift of freedom because their loved one gave it all. It might be a little tearful, awkward, but it would mean the world to them. Acknowledgement is a small price to pay for that awkward moment.

This is the weekend. It's the unofficial beginning of summer with people going to lakes, beaches, pools, barbecues and sales galore. It's Memorial Day weekend. I think some folks may have this holiday confused with Veterans Day. Memorial Day is to remember all of the men and women who died while serving their country. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. veterans. I'm not judging, just making a statement. I, too, have been caught up in the barbecues, heading to the beach or the pool, not really giving a second thought to the reason for the holiday. Guilty as charged. I know better. My father was in the Army. My husband served almost 30 years and now my youngest is serving. Honestly, it wasn't until my youngest joined did my awareness go up exponentially. I know, crazy due to my background. I think it has to do with the fact I carried him for nine months. It's very different when you send the one you marry than the one you carry. It's interesting, my other two children are more aware now too since their younger brother is a young infantryman who earned his combat infantryman's badge while in Afghanistan. All of us are thankful he came home. So, as I sit here in the comfort of my home with the freedom to practice religion how I see fit, speak my mind without fear of going to jail or death and write this, I'm thankful for many things. Selfishly, I'm thankful I've never heard the words "On behalf of a grateful nation ," while being handed a folded flag for my husband or my son. I've watched that, it's hard, heartbreaking. I am eternally grateful and thankful for the lives of the men and women who went before to face evil and tyranny to protect our way of life and others. I'm thankful for the men and women who continue to join our armed forces. We have some Gold Star families in our communities. If you know who they are, please let them know you appreciate the family's gift of freedom because their loved one gave it all. It might be a little tearful, awkward, but it would mean the world to them. Acknowledgement is a small price to pay for that awkward moment.