Here we find ourselves, again enjoying a three-day weekend with warm(ish) weather and family nearby.
And again we're firing up the grill in preparation for chicken legs and potato medallions. We'll have coleslaw and s'mores.
But always on these holidays I think of those who are gone: Not because they had the opportunity to live a long life full of families and joys and fun of their own before going on, old and gray and satisfied.
Rather, these men and women are gone because they gave up that opportunity in an attempt to ensure we could enjoy this life of freedoms.
Stay aware, folks: Vote, protest the wrongs you see, stand up for those who can not. Because even if we individually disagree, this right to disagreement is not shared by all people on our planet. Hold this gift close to your heart and everyday remember that a soldier gave his or her life to pay for this gift.
Remember, too that many more soldiers who are gone were not born on this American soil. Those soldiers did not live in our United States or fight within our uniforms. And yet, we also owe gratitude to those men and women. Many of these brave people, who wore a different flag on their sleeve, have helped us along our path to freedom as well.
We are not alone on this globe, nor is our little globe a peaceful place, not yet. Here's to the hope that next year, during our three days of barbecuing and parades, more soldiers all over the world are home with their families.
Maybe even all of them.