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Today is Memorial Day, what most people consider the beginning of summer even though the true first day of summer isn’t until June 20.

I come from a family of men who have served our country in the military. Both of my grandpas, Loren Steiner and Johnny Hahn served our country. I know for sure my Grandpa Loren served in the Korean War.

My Papa on my Husband’s side also served our country.

My oldest brother, Jared, served our country most recently in Iraq through the Army. My soon-to-be brother-in-law also served in the Middle East in the Army. I’ll never know how much pain they’ve experienced or fear or loss of comrades, but what I do know is the pride they have for their service to our great country.

Memorial Day isn’t just about grilling food with family and friends; it’s not just about going to the lake; it’s not about having a long weekend off from work. Memorial Day is exactly that, in memorial of our fellow countrymen who never came home.

I don’t say all of that to shame anyone for doing all of the above-mentioned activities, as I have done almost all of those things this weekend, with the exception of going to the lake. I say it as a reminder.

John 13:15 says, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” This verse serves as a complete reminder of the sacrifice and meaning of Memorial Day. The men and women who leave their families, for any amount of time, and put themselves in harm’s way for the sake of our country and our freedom deserve all of the thanks and respect in the world.

Often, it is hard to fully realize the sacrifices made, and what our military friends and family had to witness and bear in their service for our country. What we can do is offer our thanks.

This type of sacrifice reminds me of another sacrifice I know.

Jesus selflessly entered this earth, sinless, blameless and full of love for the people who would eventually crucify him of Calvary’s hill. The sacrifice of serving one’s country, while isn’t the same, mirrors this type of love and sacrifices from Jesus Christ our savior.

His sacrifice was the greatest the world has ever known. It is because of his loving sacrifice that we will one day be able to join him in a place we do not deserve, Heaven.

On this Memorial Day, as you celebrate with your families and friends, take a moment to think about those who first, didn’t come home to their friends and families. Say a prayer that the families that have experienced this loss, can find comfort and take refuge in the Lord.

Second, share the sacrifice Jesus made for our sins and us. We are to go tell all the nations of the Good News. There is no better time to do so over fellowship and fun.

Lastly, tell a service man or woman around you “thank you” for their service. No words will ever do justice their sacrifice and bravery, but “thank you” is a good start.