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For many, Memorial Day has pretty much morphed from a day of remembrance to a much anticipated three-day weekend with exciting outdoor events that officially welcome the start of summer. But it’s more than that. In fact, it’s not really about a big blowout holiday weekend at all. It’s about remembering our history and those who’ve gone before.

U.S. history was not something stressed or even talked about in my family growing up. I possessed a general timeline of events but that was about it.

All of that changed for me when I married a man for whom our American history is more than a few facts memorized to get past a final exam.

My husband Harold lives and breathes our nation’s history. He planned our honeymoon around visits to Revolutionary War and Civil War battlefields, culminating with an all-day visit to Gettysburg National Military Park.

I was gobsmacked by what I didn’t know. Such an emotionally packed tour I’d never experienced. I learned more that day than I’d learned about our nation’s history in my 16 years of formal education.

That so many gave their lives to preserve this republic filled me with a deep sense of gratitude I’d not known. To be there—to see this battlefield and to visualize what happened was nearly too much to take in.

That from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.

– President Abraham Lincoln

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with relaxing with friends and family and celebrating the arrival of summer. But I want to challenge you and your family to find a way today that you can pay homage to those who have given their lives for the sake of our country and our freedoms. I have a few suggestions. Read more