Memorial Day weekend means heaps of traffic for the Florida Keys — which equates to a needed boost to the local economy. In addition, a desirable day off on Monday means extended sandbar and beer indulgences over the three-day weekend.  

I’ve never been one to spoil the fun with clichés such as: “But lets not forget what this day is all about.” In fact, Memorial Day weekend, in essence, is the appropriate time to enjoy the freedoms and luxuries that so many died to preserve for us, as well as future generations.  

With this in mind, I’m sure most reasonable Americans will pause and pay their respects to fallen family members, friends and other heroes at some point over the weekend. But let us not forget that Memorial Day is a moment for us all to memorialize. 

In today’s political climate, it has become increasingly convenient to exploit meaningful traditions and holidays to serve personal agendas. All too often, a simple post on social media that pays tribute to our fallen heroes takes a dark and divisive turn into comments debating our leadership, political party rhetoric and the morality of wars. 

Memorial Day does not consider the leaders (nor their reasons or political agendas) who sent young men and women into harm’s way. Instead, the day stands to remember young boys and girls who left their homes and towns in America, never to return and raise families of their own, drop their little boy off at his first day at kindergarten or give their daughter away on her wedding day. 

From the American Revolutionary War to the men and women who are currently serving in hostile territories across the globe, those who sacrificed their lives for this nation share a duty. Their duty did not ask why. They simply served their nation and sacrificed their most precious of gifts. 

This Memorial Day let us all put aside our political affiliations and agendas and memorialize the men and women who never had a chance to see the fruits of their sacrifice. Enjoy a cold beer at the sandbar or pool. Crank some music up. And do it all for the fallen heroes who preserved your right to do so. And hopefully, do it with a whisper of gratitude that resonates throughout the weekend.  

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