Stewardship Capital President Ron Finke recently commented to me about how strange it was for him to hear people wish one another a happy Memorial Day this past weekend. If I’m honest, the thought had never occurred to me that such a salutation might be inappropriate, but after thinking about it I realized how right he was.

Memorial Day is not a celebratory holiday like New Year’s or the Fourth of July. The reason we observe Memorial Day is to honor and remember those brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Memorial Day should be a solemn day, a day that emphasizes sacrifice and love of country more than it emphasizes fun and love of BBQ.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with grilling out and spending time with family and friends over the long three-day weekend. However, those fun activities should never be allowed to overshadow the true reason for the holiday. And even more importantly, it should never cause us to forget the brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation.

As much as I hate to say it, in recent years it has become politically incorrect in certain circles to express a love for America and its history. I think that might be part of the reason that the true meaning of Memorial Day has largely been lost by those who now celebrate it.

As a former history teacher, I have a deep admiration of our military and the role it has played in promoting freedom across the world. Unlike other armies that have existed throughout human history the primary purpose of ours has never been territorial expansion.  Instead our military has served as a force for good in the world. We have used our strength to provide freedom to others and to defeat those who would seek to oppress mankind.

It was the American military that led a revolution against British tyranny, and it was our soldiers that were willing to die to end the evils of slavery. American troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to defeat a madman, and fought in the jungles of Asia to keep an evil empire from spreading to all four corners of the world. Today, our brave men and women still pay the ultimate price fighting a radical ideology that seeks to use terror and violence to harm those who do not share their beliefs.

I believe the reason God has blessed this nation for over 200 years is because we have fought for what is right, no matter the cost. That’s why I am going to make a concentrated effort to give future Memorial Days the honor it deserves. Because the fallen warriors this holiday was designed to pay respect to deserve no less.