A dear friend of mine posted a picture on social media yesterday. Her son, around the age of twenty, died in the line of duty.

Although it happened a couple of years ago, I know that for her, the grief is still fresh. I see her posts throughout the year, not just as we go into Memorial Day Weekend. She posts on her own memorial days. On his birthday she posts pictures of him--some in his uniform, of course. But sometimes she posts photos of him when he was a little boy or as a baby, smiling at her from his high chair.

I know in her quiet moments this young man that gave his life was once simply the little boy at her side on a Saturday morning, the one to whom she read bedtime stories when he couldn't go to sleep, and the son she took to the fair for the first time when he was five years old. Her baby boy became a man and then became an American hero.

Even though I never met him, I can imagine the waves of emotion that must come over her on a regular basis. Unless we've been personally affected by the great cost of our wars and the price of freedom, the real reason we reflect on Memorial Day can fade into the background of festive flags, holiday sales, and cookouts.

Now, I think those things are wonderful. I really do. Our American heroes died to protect our freedom and our American way of life. It is right that we gather, remember, and share the time with loved ones. At the same time, when we hear the personal stories of our friends and neighbors, we feel the weight of the loss more palpably. We can imagine how they must feel when they wake up and remember every single day.

As we honor our fallen as a nation, we also remember the countless families who are feeling both pride and heartbreak during this long weekend. So, I suppose this is our reminder to remember this weekend. And listen, if you've lost a loved one who has sacrificed his or her life for America, I want you to know we are thinking of you. Please allow us to express our gratefulness and our hearts with you and through you to your son, your daughter, husband, father, sisters, or brothers. May the sacrifice they made on behalf of the United States of America echo throughout time. Thank you. Thank you.

Dear American Heroes: We Remember You.


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