This holiday weekend kicks off summer here in the U.S. People all over go camping or to the beach, or hang out with friends at backyard barbecues. Hamburgers and hot dogs sizzle on the grills. Children’s laughter rings in the air, followed by a big splash in the pool. Adults sit back in their lawn chairs, shooting the breeze, often complaining or joking about the state of our government and nation.

Of course, none of this would be possible without all of those men and women who gave their lives, protecting our freedom and liberty. I grew up in the Air Force. My father is a retired vet. My grandfathers served our country in war. My brother-in-law just got out and I have two nephews who are about to finish basic training.

Yet, even I am guilty of taking my lifestyle for granted, with the gall to complain about lines at the grocery store or when my internet goes out. I meet my neighbor’s Navy SEALS son at a party and have to remind myself to thank him when it should be automatic.

Although it shouldn’t be reserved for a holiday, today I thank all of those who have given themselves so that we may enjoy our burgers and laughter with friends and family. I hope you will join me. Let’s take a moment to remember the real heroes who have given their lives for us, our children and their children.