Memorial Day usually means a day off, time to relax, barbecue, the beach and time with friends. But I hope on this Memorial Day you also take time to remember the significance of the day –honoring the people who have served our country and given their lives for our freedom.

It is an especially sobering day for me. I lost a brother during the Vietnam war. That loss forever changed our family. And this year, I won’t be with my 97-year-old father to place flowers on my brother’s grave. Living away from our family home has made this not possible this year. My mom, who has gone to be with the Lord, and my dad always took us to the military part of cemetery to decorate graves.

And because I used to live in a military town, I am acutely aware of all the families that lost loved ones to recent wars. Their sacrifice for our freedom needs to be honored.

If you are looking for a way to show your respect, here are 10 ways to honor our soldiers who died:

1. Explain the significance of the day to your children.

2. Fly the American flag at half-mast.

3. Visit a war museum or memorial.

4. Place a red poppy on the grave of a veteran (a symbol of the blood of heroes that never dies).

5. Take a moment for a silent prayer and pray for those still in harm’s way.

6. Attend a parade or religious service honoring our fallen soldiers.

7. Participate in the National Moment of Remembrance (pause at 3:00p.m. your time zone).

8. Give a donation to a veteran charity like the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

9. Sponsor a thank you bouquet through the National Memorial Day Foundation. You can dedicate your bouquet to a fallen soldier.

10. Ask your school to be involved in the Adopt a Grave program –the school takes care of a grave of a fallen soldier by keeping it clean and placing flowers on it.

There aren’t enough words to express the gratitude I feel to those who bravely fought for our freedom. Thank you to all the soldiers and to all the families who support our freedom.

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