Memorial Day, a day set aside to remember and honor our fallen soldiers, their families, and loved ones. As the founder of Fleurenasci, I have the pleasure of celebrating the essence of life through the essence of flowers, and many times a customer’s creation originates with flowers sent to celebrate the life of a loved one. As I began my day today I must admit my focus was on the upcoming extended weekend. However, in grinding through some administrative tasks necessary before enjoying the weekend I found my thoughts progressing toward the essence of Memorial Day. Having grown up an Air Force brat, I remember well my father being absent for extended periods of time. A year served in Thailand was the longest absence I recall. I was one of the fortunate ones though in that my father returned from each and ever mission he served, and we honor his service and many other ancestors who served on Veterans Day. Memorial Day, however, is a day to stop and remember those who will not be returning to their families and loved ones. It is a day to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. As is true for so many of you, my sweet niece, Erin Stalnaker, and her family have known this loss. The sacrifice made by her brother, U.S. Marine Corp, LCPL Noah M. Pier, who gave his all for his country on Feb. 16, 2010 is a loss shared within her family each and every day. My heart reaches out to them many days, but this weekend especially as we pause to remember… This holiday, Memorial Day, was formerly known as Decorations Day and originated to commemorate the soldiers who died in the Civil War. Many volunteers continue to honor our soldiers today by placing an American flag on each grave in the national cemeteries. I would like to take a moment to thank these volunteers for their time and efforts but most importantly for helping us to remember what this weekend specifically Monday is truly all about, honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. I would also like to take a moment to thank and honor the families and loved ones whose support made their soldier’s service possible. Whether your weekend plans include a backyard barbecue or you are kicking off your summer with an annual vacation, please pause and pay tribute to our fallen soldiers. And while you cannot tell them thank you directly, you can take a moment to thank their families and loved ones. Share a kind word of gratitude, give a loving hug or simply bow your head and say a silent prayer of comfort for all those whose loved ones are not returning and are most certainly missed so dearly! Thank you Erin! And thank you to your family for your support of Noah as he chose to serve his country. You are in my heart, my thoughts and my prayers….