Today is Memorial Day, the day our nation honors fallen veterans who served this country.
But how do we properly thank those who paid the ultimate price in defense of the nation and our freedom?
I think for many veterans this is a day that's very personal to us. We're thinking, in many cases, of people we know who were very close to us and paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Dan Clare, who served in the Iraq War, and works for Disabled American Veterans - the DAV - shares his thoughts on how to observe the holiday. Clare explains what Memorial Day means to him.
"I think for many veterans this is a day that's very personal to us. We're thinking, in many cases, of people we know who were very close to us and paid the ultimate sacrifice," says Clare.
Clare says it's appropriate to thank veterans on Memorial Day... though he admits many vets may respond differently. He says a common response for most veterans to insist that gratitude belongs to their fallen brothers and sisters.
Clare says, "If you know someone who is a survivor you can reach out to them and thank them for the sacrifice that their family made. I think it's good for people to talk about the people they know who paid the ultimate sacrifice. You can do that through Facebook and posting a photo of someone you loved. It's a good way to recognize people and kind of spread the word and get back in touch with the real meaning of the holiday."
And sometimes the meaning of the holiday is blurred. Often it's a point of contention - since members of the military continue to serve overseas
Clare says, " I think that's it's good for us, it's good for the public to have a good time, you a lot of times it seems like we're moving the name from Memorial Day to the unofficial start of summer and I don't want people to feel guilty about that. But we do need to remember what Monday is all about . It's really all about taking care of or honoring our fallen and recognize what they did for our country.
Clare says veterans are suffering a crisis when it comes to getting health care. He says the Veteran's Administration - and especially VA hospitals - are critical to the special needs of veterans.
He says congress needs more members like Seth Moulton, who served four tours in Iraq, to secure funding and veteran-focused legislation.
According to Clare, "you can't make veterans an election year bonanza and then forget about them afterward. You got to stay with them. And I know people like Mr. (Congressman Seth) Moulton are going to do that. But across the board, we need that commitment there and we need for it to be an issue that's going to get bi-partisan support."
Dan Clare, is a Marine Corps of the Persian Gulf era and an Air Force veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He was appointed National Director of Communications for the nearly 1.3 million-member DAV in April 2011.