This is the flag that hangs outside my home, mostly on patriotic holidays. It  was purchased on September 12, 2001. Since then, it has flown in Hawaii, Texas, and now has its home in Maryland.

We are a military family.

My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all military men. Thankfully, none of them died while on active duty. But the flag still reminds me of their sacrifice, theirs and so many others who have died in service to our country.

But the reason I initially wanted a flag was not unlike many Americans who bought a flag on September 12th: the Twin Towers, the Pentagon, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. It saw a lot of action when my husband deployed to Iraq for 14 months. He returned home, but nearly 4,500 service members did not.  In Afghanistan, where our troops have been fighting since 2001, two thousand, two hundred and twenty-nine have perished.

The way I see it, that flag is an enduring symbol of freedom, sacrifice, and selflessness.

A little more than a week ago, Army Specialist Adrian M. Perkins paid the ultimate price. He was only 19 and was probably in kindergarten when the towers fell.

Memorial Day is a day for remembrance of those who have died in service to our country, including 1,312,612 souls since the American Revolutionary War in 1775. Makes it kind of hard to say “Happy Memorial Day,” doesn’t it?