Memorial Day in the United States of America is a day set aside for us, as Americans, to commemorateU.S. Service Members who have died in military service.  A day to reflect on those who have perished defending the values each of us should hold near and dear to our hearts.  I often become emotional on this day thinking about the totality and finality of this selfless act.  If I had to venture a guess I'd say that well more than half of Americans today never consider this holiday for anything more than another day off, a time for barbecue, the beach or an extended weekend camping; never taking into consideration the sacrifices made by our service members which allow them to "celebrate" any way they see fit.

On this Memorial Day I offer these thoughts I wrote some 4 years ago.  I also ask that you remind your lawmakers of the consequences of their actions when it comes to our military and service members.  In addition, remind them that it is their duty to ensure that our military members are taken care of and provided with the best equipment available to ensure that when conflict is over, they are able to return safely to their families.  Contacting your lawmakers takes only minutes to do via email and contact information can be found here.  These things are very small sacrifices you can make today to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending our nation.

Today, consider these numbers: Nearly 1.4 million Americans have died while serving in our military service in various conflicts beginning with the American Revolutionary War, with another 38,000 missing.  In the past decade alone more than 10,000 service members have been killed, each of them escorted to their home in America with the utmost diginity and honor.  If you have never seen it, I highly recommend the movie Taking Chance, which details the journey home for a 19-year-old Marine, PFC Chance Phelps after he was killed in action in Iraq.

Lastly, if and when you encounter the men and women of our military during your daily routine, thank them for their service.  If you know someone who has served, thank them for their service.  All of them have at one point or another made the decision that they would fight to the death for you.

Happy Memorial Day.