As we start off this three day weekend, we should all stop for a moment to reflect on the meaning of the holiday before firing up the grill for the cookout. I had an opportunity to visit Arlington National Cemetery a few years ago. As I stood on the hill by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I looked around and, as far as the eye could see, there were white marble grave markers. Many of these markers have been placed for men and women who served this country, came home, lived their lives with their families and, in the fullness of time, passed away, their grave site a gift of a grateful nation. However, there are so many that had their lives ripped from them in one violent instant, moving from life to death so quickly that they hardly knew it, leaving their loved ones to wonder why. Others died slowly on the battlefield, their life seeping from them as their blood stained the ground of a foreign nation. There are more than men and women buried here. There are hopes and dreams that never came to fruition, ambitions that were never realized.
Therefore, before we head out to have fun this weekend, we should whisper a simple "Thank You". Most of these people gave everything they had so we could remain safe to be with our families. They are continuing to do so everyday is Iraq, Afghanistan and other places where they go in harms way. Thank you all and be careful out there.