A TV network just told me that 39.3 million people plan to travel this Memorial Day. The same report let me know that between today and Labor Day, 7 BILLION hot dogs will be eaten (that’s 818 per second). While that is all fascinating, there are far more important facts about this day of remembrance.

While we are celebrating, having fun, traveling, and eating favorite summer foods with family and friends, we should also acknowledge the intention of this holiday: remembering and honoring the brave men and women who gave their lives to protect our freedom. Freedom isn’t free.

It has always been a time for reflection and gratitude in my family. My father, four uncles and a husband all served in the military…Navy, Air Force and Army. Both my grandmothers each had 2 sons bravely serving at the same time during war. Families of our military must also show courage. While all my military family members have now gone to heaven, we were blessed that they all made it safely back from their military duty. Many do not.

Here are a few favorite quotes I found to remind us of the significance of this day, followed by some fun holiday recipes to enjoy.

“I don’t have to tell you how fragile this precious gift of freedom is. Every time we hear, watch, or read the news, we are reminded that liberty is a rare commodity in this world.” – Ronald Reagan

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” – Maya Angelou

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.” — George S. Patton

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me” —  Lee Greenwood

Now absolutely, go have fun and enjoy this special holiday! People served and died to make sure you get to do that! Just pause and remember to be grateful.

I did a little research and found some quick and easy fun food ideas to celebrate Memorial Day. And they all work for July 4th!

Tell Me: How are you spending Memorial Day weekend?