Published May 21, 2021 by Rick Cundiff

It’s almost here, the start of summer. As this is written, the big three-day weekend holiday that marks the start of the season is a week away.

It’s natural to be excited about the prospect of vacations, beach getaways, backyard barbecues and all the other fun summer has to offer. But let’s not forget the meaning of Memorial Day that goes far beyond just an extra day off.

Memorial Day is the one day set aside each year to honor American Armed Forces members who have given their lives in service to their country. Despite the department store sales, flag-waving used car deals and other associated commercial activities, it really is a solemn occasion.

We know we have veterans in our customer base, maybe including some of you reading this. Some of our coworkers are veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

I’ve never served myself. I can’t know what so many of you have seen. And I can’t imagine going to a far off land to defend democracy and seeing my brothers-in-arms killed right beside me.

Everyone who enters the military does so with the understanding that they might have to make the ultimate sacrifice. But how many really think it will happen to them? How many of their loved ones expect it to happen?

That’s why it’s important to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day. Because it does happen. Because some of the people who go overseas to protect our freedom don’t come back.

“Freedom isn’t free” has been said so much in recent years that it’s become a cliché, an easy phrase for many. But too often we forget exactly what the price of freedom is and how it’s paid.

So yes, enjoy the holiday. Enjoy the three-day weekend. But take a moment to give thanks and honor the sacrifices of those who made it possible for you to do so in a free nation.