With all of the social activities that surround a holiday weekend like Memorial Day, it is easy to forget that this day is about remembering the troops who have given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, for our country. Words like “troops” and “country” seem so vague, and for years I let them dehumanize the fact that these were real men and women who died for our comfort, our freedom, and our safety. These people have families who loved them and will forever have a hole in their heart for their loss.

I recently attended a silent retreat, and one of the speakers said that one way to honor and remember the life of someone you’ve lost is to pick the qualities you most admired in them and adopt them as your own.

These fallen troops were guided by selfless action in the face of fear, courageous acts of love, and served with a strong mind and a strong heart something greater than themselves.

We can remember these souls today by letting our actions be guided by the same selfless commitment to helping others, to developing character, integrity, and dedication to a life of honor.