I feel like Memorial Day weekend has come upon us what feels so suddenly this year. Perhaps due to the ever-present distraction of the pandemic we've been facing as a region, everything else has seemed to pass so quickly, too. However, no matter what is going on, honoring American heroes that have given everything to protect this beloved nation of ours is always of utmost priority.

Many heroes have fallen in service of our nation. And, like many of you, I have dear friends that have experienced the loss of their nearest and dearest. A few years ago, a friend of mine lost her son. She is strong and faces the loss with such beauty, honor, and dignity. But, I know in her quiet moments she mourns the loss of this young man that gave his life.

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She remembers that he was once simply the little boy at her side on a Saturday morning, the one to whom she read bedtime stories when he couldn't go to sleep, and the son she took to the fair for the first time when he was five years old. Her baby boy became a man and then became an American hero.

Even though I never met him, I can imagine the waves of emotion that must come over her on a regular basis. Unless we've been personally affected by the great cost of our wars and the price of freedom, the real reason we reflect on Memorial Day can fade into the background of festive flags, holiday sales, and cookouts.

Now, I think those things are wonderful. I really do. Our American heroes died to protect our freedom and our American way of life. It is right that we gather, remember, and share the time with loved ones. At the same time, when we hear the personal stories of our friends and neighbors, we feel the weight of the loss more palpably. We can imagine how they must feel when they wake up and remember every single day.

As we honor our fallen as a nation, we also remember the countless families who are feeling both pride and heartbreak during this long weekend. So, I suppose this is our reminder to remember this weekend. And listen, if you've lost a loved one who has sacrificed his or her life for America, I want you to know we are thinking of you. Please allow us to express our gratefulness and our hearts with you and through you to your son, your daughter, husband, father, sisters, or brothers. May the sacrifice they made on behalf of the United States of America echo throughout time. Thank you. Thank you.

Dear American Heroes: We Remember You. Thank you.

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