Memorial Day: Never Forgotten

Last Updated May 27, 2011 11:01 AM EDT

Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died while serving in the American military and originated in the years following the Civil War. It became an official federal holiday in 1971. I know that most people think of the day as the unofficial start of summer or a much-needed day off, rather than as a day to remember those who served our country. But this year--nearly ten years after the 9-11 attacks and weeks after the death of Osama bin Laden, I ask you to take a moment to remember the original intent of Memorial Day.

Today I am not a financial commentator or analyst, I am just a person whose family lost a brave soul. This is our beloved nephew, who entered the Marine Corps after graduating from Annapolis in 2006. 1st Lieutenant Michael L. LiCalzi USMC died on May 11, 2006 in Anbar Provence, Iraq, six weeks into his first tour of duty.

In the five years since Michael's death, so many more soldiers have died or been injured. You may scan their names in the local newspaper or hear of a particularly bad event on television, but the sad truth is that only a fraction of the stories are reported. That was why it was particularly moving to see some members of Mike's battalion -- the 2d Tank Battalion of the USMC -- at a recent fundraising event for the Ace in the Hole Foundation, the non-profit established by Michael's twin brother and father to honor Michael's service.

The message on their shirts reflected what I believe fallen soldiers' families want: to know that their loss will not be forgotten. So please remember our fallen soldiers this Memorial Day. Maybe that means attending your town's parade or thanking a soldier who served or even just bowing your head for a moment to honor all who gave so much.

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    Jill Schlesinger, CFP®, is the Emmy-nominated, Business Analyst for CBS News. She covers the economy, markets, investing and anything else with a dollar sign on TV, radio (including her nationally syndicated radio show), the web and her blog, "Jill on Money." Prior to her second career at CBS, Jill spent 14 years as the co-owner and Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. She began her career as a self-employed options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York, following her graduation from Brown University.