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There's nothing that makes me itch more than hearing someone thoughtlessly blurt out: "Happy Memorial Day!" Or when they talk about all the fun that they're going to have enjoying a three-day weekend.

I know it's normal for people to be excited about a day away from the rat race. However, we sometimes tend to lose sight of what these days were really meant to symbolize. It's certainly not unheard of to need to clear up the confusion one would have figuring out the difference between Memorial day and Veterans Day.

The basic rule of thumb is:

Memorial Day is for those who gave their lives in service to our nation.

Veterans Day is for ALL who served. 

It's actually pretty simple.

Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

We ALL could stand to remember exactly why we get this three-day weekend. With that, here are some ways that we can respect the day, and use it to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

  • Don't wish a veteran a "Happy Memorial Day." There's nothing happy about brave men and women dying.
  • Remember, it's not a holiday. It's a remembrance.
  • If you want to know the true meaning of Memorial Day, visit Arlington or your local VA, not Disneyland or a furniture sale.
  • Say a prayer... and then say another.
  • Remember the fallen for all that they gave while they were here.
  • Reach out and let a veteran know you're there for them; we're losing too many in "peace."

Spend some time this weekend reflecting on why we have the day. This doesn't mean you can't go and barbecue and share a couple of cold beers and a few laughs. That's the freedom we enjoy. Freedom we have because of those who gave unselfishly for their nation.

God bless the fallen, and God bless America.

LOOK: 100 years of American military history

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Stacker used data from the 2020 County Health Rankings to rank every state's average life expectancy from lowest to highest. The 2020 County Health Rankings values were calculated using mortality counts from the 2016-2018 National Center for Health Statistics. The U.S. Census 2019 American Community Survey and America's Health Rankings Senior Report 2019 data were also used to provide demographics on the senior population of each state and the state's rank on senior health care, respectively.

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