Memorial Day comes with a heavy price

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - Monday is Memorial Day. Many of you have the day off. But it’s more than just the end of a three-day holiday weekend. It’s the weekend when a lot of Americans fill up their vehicles and hit the road. It’s the unofficial start to the summer vacation season. You can almost smell the burgers and dogs cooking on the grill. And lot of folks will spend the holiday on the water. But Memorial Day is more than just a Monday off from work. Memorial Day comes with a price.

Memorial Day began as Decoration Day. The graves of those who died in service to our country were decorated with flowers, wreaths and flags. The first was in 1868. The final resting place of more than 20,000 civil war soldiers who fought and died for the union and confederacy were decorated in Arlington National Cemetery.

149 years later, a small American flag will be placed on the grave of each man and woman who made the ultimate sacrifice to our nation. They gave their life in defense of America. They died protecting and preserving the freedoms that we enjoy each and every day.

Every day of the year, we visit memorials. They’re a fitting tribute to those who are no longer with us. We may not know their names or their faces, but they deserve a moment of our time. On Memorial Day, we remember more than 2.1 million of our brothers and sisters who died bravely in U.S. wars and conflicts the past 241 years.

From the American Revolution to the war in Afghanistan, we should pause and remember, even if it’s something as silently saying thank you for your service. We should also remember the sacrifice their families have made as we continue to enjoy the freedoms their loved ones gave their lives to preserve.