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Honoring the Fallen on Memorial Day

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There are a few days out of the year where we as a nation honor the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in the Armed Forces. On Veterans Day in November, we commemorate those who put on the uniform and defended our freedom. On Armed Forces Day, we commemorate those serving and pray for their safe return to families and loved ones. And Memorial Day is set aside on the final Monday every May to remember all of those we have lost while serving in the military.

In all the crises in America's history, we have called upon these heroes and thank God they have never failed to respond. To paraphrase a saying from my youthful days in an organization called DeMolay, they have fought in every war our country has ever waged, and the red upon our glorious banner is dyed a richer hue with the precious blood our servicemembers have shed.

Memorial Day originated as "Decoration Day" in the days after the Civil War to commemorate both Union and Confederate soldiers who died. It would eventually be expanded to honor all Americans who died in service to our country. Although Memorial Day is said to be first used in the early 1880s, it did not become common until after World War II -- and officially declared by federal law during the Lyndon Johnson administration in the late 1960s.

We often associate this national holiday with the start of summer and a three-day weekend filled with beaches and barbeques. But let us not forget the true meaning of this day or the price of freedom. Take a moment to honor those who didn't come back; those who paid the ultimate sacrifice to this amazing country we all know and love.

Thank you to all of our servicemembers who answered the call of duty and their loved ones who carried on their legacy. And may we all say a special prayer for all of our Gold Star Families. While we honor the fallen on Memorial Day but one day out of the year -- for these families, every day is Memorial Day.