I can’t hear taps without crying.

I love and I’m so proud that I come from a family where both of my parents and my grandfather on my dad’s side were some of the few, the proud, and the strong – members of the United States Marine Corps.

My mother was one of the few women to be accepted in the Marine Corps when she signed up.

It was her only way to get out of the small-town life, especially coming from a family where they had to get clever to make ends meet.

My mom is incredibly intelligent, and she has an incredible strength of character, perseverance, and attitude towards life.

Being the absolute best that she can be, is single-handedly the most influential person I’ve ever had the blessing to have impact my own self.

We didn’t always used to get along, but now we have what I’d like to think of as a Gilmore girls relationship.

She was in the Marines, she had the opportunity to go to Washington DC instead of becoming an instructor at Camp Pendleton (if I’m getting my story straight). She was on honor duty (I believe that’s what it’s called) and stood for fallen marines at Arlington.

When I ask her how she could possibly manage to keep a straight face and control when opening notes for taps start playing on a trumpet she looks at me and says:

“It was my job. It was my duty. I had to, it was what was expected of me, what was required of me, and that’s it.”

When she says things like that, there’s no other logical explanation my head other than what she just said. At that point it becomes a no-brainer to me.

Because of her, and because of Nate’s grandpa, I’ve become overwhelmed infused with pride, emotions, and gratitude every time I hear the national anthem song a hockey game for the Blackhawks, or a basketball game for the Golden State Warriors.

I swell with pride. I am from a family that served my country.

I may not be in the Marine Corps, but I can be damn proud of people to do serve and have served, and are willing to put their lives on the line for my country, and everything that I have come to know and appreciate.

So on this Memorial Day. I’m thankful that I come from a family that I do, I’m thankful for the people that are still serving and will serve and have served, and thankful for the sacrifices they make and the strength of their character that makes our country a better place to live, be, and exist.