Millions of Americans are enjoying the national holiday, hosting or attending cookouts, vacationing or relaxing.

As those in the U.S. consume their cold beverages and hot dogs, it’s worth remembering why today was designed to inspire reflection.

A Fox News story took the time to provide a few Memorial Day anecdotes.

The holiday, always on the last Monday of May, signals the beginning of summer but it’s really for honoring the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. military.  

Memorial Day serves as a mixed blessing.

From Fox:

  • Juliana Ponia, whose 30-year-old son, Ronny, is a U.S. Marine, is proud of her son though she constantly worries about his safety. “It means a lot emotionally … when they are (stationed) somewhere, they can lose their life,” she said, adding that these men and women leave behind a family and, in some, cases children. “All the time you are concerned.”
  • Erika Colorado, whose two sons Louis and Victor served in Afghanistan, told Fox News that she is proud that her sons have “served this great country” and that they made it home safe. She also finds herself reflecting on all the “heroes that have served over the years,” especially those who couldn’t make it home. 

A conclusion reached by now-retired Army officer Mike Jason, via the Washington Post in 2014, is that “Happy Memorial Day” perhaps isn’t the right greeting. Jason lost three close friends and colleagues in a 12-month span, two of whom died within 72 hours of each other. 

“For all the debate on the meaning of the weekend, no feeling can compare with the emotions of those who will pause to remember loved ones: the fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and children they will never see and hold again,” Jason wrote.

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