Freedom isn't free. It is paid with the lives of those brave enough to stand up to evil and tyranny. The people who protected us, defended us, and gave the ultimate sacrifice so we could live in the greatest country the world has ever seen. The list of heroes is long, and their names have since been forgotten, if they were even ever known. At a time when society seems focused on instant gratification, we must always remember those who sacrificed so that others could “live their best lives.”

I'm often reminded of the poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" when honoring the fallen. "Theirs not to make reply, Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die," has always been a hauntingly beautiful line that represents the selflessness of the brave men and women who perish in battle. They had one duty: to protect. They were the silent guardians who followed their orders and died so that we could enjoy living.

The poem encompasses the spirit of their courage and bravery, traits that we selfishly take for granted. It is a debt that can never be repaid, a sacrifice too quickly forgotten.

And let’s not forget the families of the fallen, those whose agony we will never know. Let’s not forget their pain and suffering, as they lost a loved one so we could remain free. While many Americans are creating new memories at the beach or at barbecues, their families are the ones remembering last moments.

Memorial Day is traditionally recognized as the start of the summer season. But isn’t it ironic that on the day we honor the deaths of our country's bravest warriors, we celebrate the beginning of something else?

Through all the welcomed joys that each summer brings, we must never forget the men and women who were brave enough to do what we, who are alive today, could not. Between beach trips and barbecues, we must never forget to honor their legacy.

"Remember this Memorial Day ... when you're eating your barbecue, smiling and laughing, that in another house somewhere, there is an empty chair where a hero should be sitting," a friend posted on her Facebook today. "They gave up their life so that you can sit with your family. So take a moment to think about those heroes who did not make it home and raise a glass in their name. The U.S.A. without her service members would be like God without His angels. Home of the free because of the brave!"

As we bask in the freedom that the heroes of yesterday fought for us to have, let's take some time to remember that today is about them, not us. As my friend concluded in her social media post (a quote from 19th century American poet Will Carleton):

"Over all our happy country over all our Nation spread, is a band of noble heroes — is our Army of the Dead."