Today is a special day.  While many people see it only as a 3 day weekend or a time for sales, there is a much deeper and profound reason for this day.  While only a small percentage of the population of this great country have even signed up to protect and serve this country, even if that meant giving the ultimate sacrifice, there are inspiring people who have done so and in the face of the harshest realities, laid down their lives for, most of the time, total strangers who they never knew.  It is not always the war hardened veteran who has given their life but the ones who served everyday and were maybe not seeing actual combat.  Each one of these people who's life was given should be remembered and honored.  Not only were they selfless in their thoughts and actions but they believed in a greater calling.
I have served next to and called many people my brothers and sisters, all the time knowing it could be my time to go.  There were some close calls and yet I am reminded of one of my Senior Chiefs back when I was going through training, telling a room of us to look around at our mates.  One of us would be dead before the end of our time in the Navy.  I never thought it would be my best friend, Bill "Nick" Nolte.  He died in a crash off the coast of Oregon and I also lost 2 friends in Lcdr Miller and Ensign Hanusin.  It was a horrible thing and I had no one I could really lean on when I received the news.  I was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, on my way to what would become Desert Storm.  It was a nightmare I dealt with for many years and still do to this day.
Let us never forget what today stands for.