UNITED STATES—Memorial Day is fast approaching and as many like to call it, it is the official kickoff to the summer season, even though it actually doesn’t begin until that third week in June. With that said, people are getting ready to hit the beaches, head outdoors, go to the parks and fire up the grill to celebrate the holiday. However, Memorial Day is not the BBQ holiday that so many people seem to think that it is.

Why do I say that? I recently had to have this conversation with my young niece who seemed to think the holiday was all about the grill and eating outdoors. So we had a conversation, and it was one that was eye-opening. So, I explained the holiday is to celebrate those who served our country and risked their lives and some who lost their lives so we could enjoy the freedoms that so many of us currently take for granted.

Whether it be the Civil War, World War I, World War II (there are still some veterans out there, people who are alive and kicking), the Vietnam War, Gulf War or Iraq War, many people have served our country and paid the ultimate price. Too many Americans don’t even think or consider that, and it is a sad day. Without those veterans and people fighting during WWII, America would totally be a different place, perhaps a much scarier place to say the least.

The Vietnam War has to be one of the most decisive wars ever. I have family members who are survivors of that war and I still haven’t heard all the horror stories despite the countless flicks I have seen. Yes, I’ve seen “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Platoon” and “The Deer Hunter” to name a few; that is only three of the many countless flicks that have hit the screen courtesy of Hollywood and earned countless accolades as a result.

Explaining to an 11 year-old what Memorial Day is all about is not easy, but I am glad that I got the opportunity so she understands that so many of these man-made holidays we have in this country have become so commercialized that its sad. We don’t actually celebrate what we should, instead we’re spending money on things that we shouldn’t. Should we spend time with family? Absolutely and we should reflect on family members in our lives or who are no longer part of our lives who may have made the ultimate sacrifice. Would you like to go to a cemetery?

Most people, no, but sometimes it is good as it’s a reflection of life and you start to appreciate what you have for those who sacrificed so much for you to have it. We become way too caught up in our own lives to reflect on the lives of others who have given so much to us, but we don’t always show that level of appreciation.

So, this Memorial Day before you light up the grill, head to the waterpark, or plan that picnic or family cook out, remember why you’re able to do those things it’s because of those who served this country so many of us wouldn’t have to.

Written By Jason Jones