I’ve been passively working on my family tree for a decade or so. Around 2000, when my last grandmother became sick, I developed an obsession to find out more about my grandparents and their lives.

Then I stopped because I was overcome by events. The folder went to my mom’s where it sat. When Gramma passed away, I as given boxes of pictures,which I put into albums and made my parents sit down and label.

So I’m pretty lucky. I’ve got 2 ginormous albums of my grandparents and their brothers and sisters. Pics of my parents and their siblings as kids.

But the coolest thing, I think was having pictures of my grandfathers in World War II. I’ve got Grampa Scott’s basic training graduation picture. I’ve got Grampa Cupero’s enlistment records from ancestry.com. Before he passes away, my Great Uncle Anthony told me that Grampa Cupero had been in the 9th Infantry Division, so I went a did some history. They were part of the invasion of North Africa during World War II.

I don’t have a ton. I’ve got pictures of my grandfathers posing in those typical GI photos with their buddies. Their friend’s names have been lost in history.

I think its pretty cool to be able to look back on my family’s history and see military service in there. My daughters will one day be able to look up their dad and me and find our military records out there. My grandfathers were part of World War II. My husband and I are both part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

With any luck, by the time they’re old enough to understand all that, the wars will be viewed as having been worth it. As having been the right thing to do. We’re too close right now to be able to make those judgments. Maybe with time, we’ll be able to see things more clearly.

Remember that this weekend is not about barbecue and picnics. Take some time to teach your kids about our military traditions. Teach them to say thank you to the grizzled VietNam vet you pass in the store. Teach them that there are those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in the last century so that their moms and dads could live in peace and raise them, knowing that there are wolves guarding the gates.

But above all, remember the fallen this weekend. Remember those who have served. Their names might have been lost in the sands of time, but their sacrifice has not been.