Today is a very special day. While Thanksgiving and 4th of July are my favorite holidays in terms of celebration, Easter and Memorial Day are the most hallowed holidays because of the significance and sacrifice they represent.

The saying goes — “Only two people have ever died for you — Jesus Christ died for your sins, and the American soldier died for your freedom.”

And so today I pledge to make this more than just a day off of work. More than a three day weekend. More than being on the lake. More than store sales and shopping. More than hot dogs and ice cream. More than picnics with the family. More than a Facebook status. More than just flying my flag at half staff.

And so I took the family to a local Memorial Day flag ceremony. There were several in our local area and we decided to go to the one at the Patriots Peace Memorial which began at noon. There was a decent gathering of people to show support. Veterans in uniform were present to preside and participate in the ceremony. I felt very good about the people there and that my family was there as an act of public support as well as for my kids to see how important it is to give back to your country and community. I pushed both K and D out of their shells and encouraged them each to go up to any two uniformed personnel and to shake their hand and say thank you.

The ceremony was respectful, honorable, ritualistic and heartfelt. During the ceremony, two additional names were enshrined into the memorial — Private Adrien Augustin and Petty Officer 2nd Class Monica Beacham. Both died while serving our country in uniform and their loved ones were presented the glass bricks which bear their names to be placed into the memorial. The bagpipes played “Amazing Grace” as they all walked into the memorial. Finally, “Taps” was bugled out to end the ceremony.

This was the first time I had ever taken the time out of my Memorial Day to actually visit a ceremony (I am ashamed to say it). It will now be a part of my honoring ritual every year to show respect for those living and dead who have sacrificed in serving our great country. I would encourage every one of you to put down the hot dog and put aside the shopping trips to go out of your way and find a local ceremony to attend. It means much to those uniformed servicefolk who selflessly serve day in and day out to protect our country and way of life.

Thank you to all those in uniform who have sacrificed and died while serving this land!

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

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