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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Memorial Day can mean a long weekend, barbecue and maybe time at the lake for a lot of people. But, it’s important to remember the true meaning behind the holiday — something veteran Bob Drolet describes as a somber day.

“Memorial Day is probably one of the most solemn days that we celebrate during the year. It’s a day that’s totally devoted to remembering those that paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their life in defense of our country,” said Drolet, a retired Army General.

A solemn day, a somber day, this is what Memorial Day is about, but it’s also a day for reflection.

“We’re engaged in conflict today in the Middle East, there are people giving their lives almost on a daily basis. You have to have a day that you stop and remember the sacrifices they make,” said Drolet.

The bravest men and women in America have been making sacrifices for our freedom for hundreds of years. Drolet says that freedom deserves to be commemorated.

“Well you don’t want to be morbid, you want to still celebrate life… it is a holiday,” said Drolet.  “But, you want to reflect and remember why you’re celebrating, that you have the right to celebrate and the right and freedom to have a barbecue because of people willing to serve and people who gave the ultimate sacrifice in that service.”

WHNT News 19 is commemorating the holiday with a special concert.  Click here for the details.