Many Americans think of Memorial Day as a day off of work and an excuse to enjoy a long weekend marking the beginning of summer. But it is much more than just another holiday. Memorial Day is a day of remembrance where we honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our country.

We must never forget we are the land of the free, because of the brave. The bravest among us are the men and women who put on the uniforms of our armed forces every day and risk their lives to keep us safe. Even in the toughest of challenges, they never waiver in their fight against our enemies. Without them, we would not enjoy the many freedoms we often take for granted.

This weekend, we all must set aside time to remember the men and women who sacrificed their lives so we can enjoy the freedoms we have as Americans. While we will never be able to repay our debt to them, it is our duty as Americans to honor those fallen and always give honor and respect to the families who have lost their loved ones while serving.

Many of us know someone in our community who has lost a loved one serving our country. While their loved one paid the ultimate sacrifice, they also mourn the loss of a brother, sister, mother, father, cousin, uncle, aunt, or friend on Memorial Day. I encourage you to reach out to those families to thank them for the sacrifice they live with, not just on Memorial Day, but every day.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) represents the second district in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached through http://mullin.house.gov, and at 811-A N York St., Muskogee, OK 74403, 918-687-2533 or 202-225-2701.