My family consists of numerous military members and, volunteer firefighter and rescue members. You see, I understand firsthand the danger they face everyday to protect others and, my businesses created to “give back” to my community are founded on the principle to effectively “give back” whenever I can as a way to honor those who sacrifice to save others.

As I watched my husband, Matthew Wortham hang an American Flag outside our home this morning, it occurred to me that many view Memorial Day as a three day weekend rather than a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces.

The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans- established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing with Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in military service.

My goal is to honor all who sacrifice for us every day, all year long. My commitment to reaching back to the hero’s who protect our freedom and risk their own lives while doing so is important to not only me but, my family, my community and those who fight and continue to fight to protect America.

My brother, Jerry Lee Thomas Jr, fought many wars during his twenty year service in the Navy.

My cousins have been volunteer firefighters and EMT drivers for as long as I can remember.

Enjoy your holiday- embrace your family and remember those who sacrificed their own lives to protect your freedom. By remembering those who are now gone, we should honor those who are still with us and understand the sacrifices they make everyday while “suiting up” to save others.

Wendy M Wortham