Memorial Day weekend is often a time we celebrate the extra time off, enjoy the outdoors, and fire up the grill! As I was finalizing my weekend plans, I realized I hadn't stopped to reflect on the meaning behind the holiday: honoring the heroic sacrifices that gave us freedom.

Maybe you're like me and want to acknowledge the sacrifice but are not sure what you can do since you don't have a direct connection to a fallen soldier.

photo-1460060343905-8bd4f8435dd6Here are three ideas for Memorial Day weekend commitments:

1. Read the history behind the holiday.

We owe it to our fallen heroes to learn our nation's history. We may not know all the stories of the soldiers we lost, but we know what price they paid for freedom.

“We do not know one promise these men made, one pledge they gave, one word they spoke; but we do know they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. For love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” – James A. Garfield (May 30, 1868 Arlington National Cemetery)

2. Thank a veteran.

You may not directly know a fallen soldier, but many veterans do. Acknowledge them and their loss, and offer your gratitude for what they have done to give you freedom. has great ideas for how to honor a veteran this weekend!

3. Attend a parade.

Many cities and towns put on Memorial Day parades. Take time to search your area for events you can attend over the weekend. Use this freedom celebration to help educate those around you about the history of this holiday and offer ideas about how they, too, can thank a veteran.

During a weekend decorated with red, white, and blue with unlimited sweet tea, and hot dogs, let's not forget to acknowledge the brave men and women who gave us the freedom we celebrate.

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