Memorial Day may represent a friend who made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our nation in the war on terrorism. No matter our relationship to these heroes, we are indebted to them and their families every day of the year.

With Memorial Day just around the corner, these individuals fill our hearts and minds. We do this every day, but Memorial Day represents a time when all patriotic Americans join us in solemn tribute.

Amid the somber service and tearful remembrances, we share our sense of pride, under the flag of our nation, signaling to the world the lengths to which we will go for the causes of freedom, liberty and democracy.

The numbers of our fallen heroes are not just statistics. They are real people, with real families, who lived in real communities. We can best honor their sacrifice by remembering their families, who have lost so much.

Long after the battlefield guns have been silenced and the bombs stop exploding, the children of our fallen warriors will still be missing a parent. Spouses will be without their life partners. Parents will continue to grieve for their heroic sons and daughters that died way too early. Nobody can replace these fallen heroes — especially in the eyes of their families — but we can assure them that their loved one’s sacrifice will not be forgotten.

There is a price for the liberties we enjoy. Memorial Day is indeed more than a time for barbecues, picnics and mattress sales. It is like no other three-day weekend. Americans must remember that Freedom is never free.

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