Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of when George Lucas first took us to a galaxy far, far away. And today is the start of Memorial Day weekend, marking the unofficial start of summer. Of course, we’re often reminded that this holiday isn’t just about barbeques and fireworks.

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Memorial Day 2017 Child

But personally, I’m reminded of the poignant closing line from Saving Private Ryan –

“Every day I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge. And I’ve tried to live my life the best I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that at least in your eyes, I’ve earned what all of you have done for me.”

So, while this national holiday is a somber reminder of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, let’s not forget why they did it. These men and women chose to put their lives on the line, as do many of our soldiers, airman, sailors and marines every day, so that our families and loved ones can live full lives in a free country.

While I am grateful for the time that I served with our fellow brothers and sisters, I am equally grateful for the opportunity to thrive in honor of the memory of those who didn’t make it home.

LT John Y Chang, USNR