On this picture perfect day as we kick off the unofficial start of summer, please remember our fallen heroes.

 

Getty Images Hulton Archive / Joe Raedle

 

For the past few Memorial Days I have felt compelled to give tribute to the women and men who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.  This year is no exception.

Here's some background for you about this holiday.

Memorial Day originally honored military personnel who died during the Civil War.  The last Monday in May now honors those who died in all wars while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

It's hard to believe that Memorial Day did not become a federal holiday until 1971.

Just to put things in perspective, dating back to World War 1, here is the American casualty count for each conflict:  The numbers boggle the mind.

World War 1 - 116,708

World War 2 - 405,399

Korean War - 36,574

Vietnam - 58,220

Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm - 148

Operation Iraqi Freedom - 4,422

Operation New Dawn - 66

Operation Enduring Freedom (as of May 2014) - 2,318

Please, by all means, enjoy our holiday.  Head out to one of Jersey's great beaches.  Have a barbeque.

And if you can, fly The Stars and Stripes,or, participate the many Memorial Day parades around the Garden State.