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Make Memorial Day more than just a day

In between the hamburgers and the hot dogs remember what Memorial Day is truly about.

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery
Alicia Tolar

The kids are out of school and mom and dad have a three-day weekend at work signaling that it is time for everyone to pile in the car and head to a family members to celebrate Memorial Day. An unofficial kickoff to summer, friends and family get together and spend the day feasting on hot dogs, hamburgers, and other picnic foods. Backyard football and pickup soccer games spring up in the course of the day as the kids and adults look for ways to pass the time. Eventually, evening sets in and people pile back into their cars, sunburnt and full from spending the day eating. The car ride home is spend grumbling about having to go to work the next day.

Lost in the day is the reason for Memorial Day which isn't simply a three-day weekend to kick off summer. Memorial Day is a day for remembering the men and women who have died in service to the United States. The people who never came home to their friends and families. For the friends and family members who never had their loved ones come home every day is Memorial Day.

It has been ten years since Lance Corporal Jason Redifer didn't come home from Iraq and there has not been a single day that has gone by that I haven't thought about him. He was killed on his last mission out before returning home. It was a mission that in true Jason form he volunteered for. Ten years later it still seems wrong that there is a world that Jason no longer exists in. The loss that I feel for my high school friend isn't a fraction of what his family feels each day.

A single day out of the year hardly seems adequate for remembering lost who have been lost, the ones who never made it home. While articles like this always implore the reader to take a moment on Memorial Day to remember the reason for the day -- do more than that. Take a moment every day to remember the loved ones who never came come. Their family members who live each day with a hole in their hearts that can never be filled.

Whatever you do just don't forget.