A military funeral is something you never forget. It is sacred and so meaningful. I have experienced it twice in my immediate family. First with my brother, then my dad. Both served their country with honor.

This weekend, we honor the fallen. On Monday we celebrate Memorial Day. It is a day to honor those who served and gave their lives for our freedom. And when we fire up the grill and picnic, remember those we have lost to the sacrifice of service. Be grateful for their service.

If your family has been touched by loss like mine has, you pause, remember and pray. We attend to their memory. Until I moved too far away, would visit my brother’s grave. When I looked at the small American flag placed on the stone, the events of his death rush through my head like an old movie that is played. I remember his body shipped overseas from a foreign land, a closed coffin draped by the American flag and laid in the ground; the military officer who appeared in our kitchen on a warm summer day to tell us he wasn’t coming home; the shock on the face of his wife when we had to tell her of his death; his two-year-old son who couldn’t understand where daddy was and why he won’t see him anymore; the second born child brought into this world without his father; and the gut wrenching tears and heartache we experienced as a family.

This year, I urge you to take a moment to pause and pray. Consider a donation to an organization that helps families regroup from loss, and reach out to someone who is experiencing this holiday without a loved one. Just the acknowledgment that our service men and women are not forgotten goes a long way.

To my brother Gary, you are missed in ways I cannot express. Thank you for your willingness to put your life on the line so mine can remain free. And to the many that join me in remembering their loved ones, you are not forgotten! And we thank you for your service.

Gratitude and remembrances for those who served