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By YMSgt Jon-Cristian Monserrat Temecula Valley CA I have proudly served in Temecula Valley Young Marines Color Guard and feel I am better for having done this. Memorial Day is observed ev- ery year on the last Monday of May. Its a day for remembering the men and women who died while serving. But these words dont begin to cover what Memorial Day means to me. For meMemorial Day is personal.My own grandfather was an Army Paratrooper during the Korean War. He wrote a blank check to this wonderful country of ours. How incredibly brave he was. I am proud. I am honored to say that I was named after him.I never met him but I know of a true hero right here in my own family... Thank you Grandpa. I also felt fortunate to place flags on graves of those men and women who gave all they could for this country. My action of placing a flag is a gesture that I do with a bit more thought and I made sure of one thing. I said the name of each person and thanked them for giving me my freedom. Thank you for the ultimate sacrifice. Our men and women have shed their blood and sacrificed their lives so others can live in freedom. Our flag also symbolizes so much. Born on June 14 1777 the Second Continental Con- gress determined that the flag of the United States would be 13 stripes al- ternating between 7 red and 6 white and the union be 13 white stars in a blue field representing a new constel- lation. Between 1777 and 1960 the shape and design of the flag evolved to the flag we have today. Red symbolizes hardiness and valor white for inno- cence and harmony and blue for vigi- lance perseverance and justice. It car- ries a message of freedom at home and abroad. In 1969 it was flown in space and astronaut Neil Armstrong put it on the moon. Now the sun never sets on the flag we so proudly cherish. By displaying the flag and giving a distinctive fold we show respect to the flag and express our gratitude to those who fought and continue to serve at home and abroad. Indeed it flies in the heart of every person who has ever served. It is our responsibility to continue to protect and pre- serve the rights and freedom it represents. The United States flag represents who we are. We cherish its legacy as a beacon of hope. May every day be Memorial Day and long may it wave. Remembering Those Who Paid for Our Freedom MEMORIAL DAY 2015 Young Marines Observe Page 18 ESPRIT