Team Extra Space,
Over the holiday weekend, it is likely that many of us will grill, camp, fish, hike, or do other things with friends and family. Of course, Memorial Day is not just an excuse for a three-day weekend. It is a time to remember and honor all the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we may have the freedom to pursue happiness and live in a safe and secure place.
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. It originated during the American Civil War when citizens would place flowers on the graves of those killed in battle. After World War I, the day became a way to remember all Americans who had died in wars, and the name was changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day.
As a proud veteran, Memorial Day weighs heavy on my heart. On my second tour to Iraq in 2007, my squadron left Hill Air Force Base in Utah as a complete unit ready to tackle anything. Three months later, this great nation received the bodies of three Airmen from my squadron. These airmen were not just my friends and coworkers, they became my family. They were sons, fathers, brothers, and husbands. Typically, the homecoming from deployment is a joyous affair; however, this homecoming was empty. We were not coming back as a complete unit. While friends and family shed happy tears for our arrival home, our squadron had tear-soaked faces for these heroes we were forced to say goodbye to, too soon. These heroes would never receive a cheerful welcome home from their families again. I spend Memorial Day as a day of reflection to not only honor these soldiers but also to remind myself how lucky I am to live in a country that provides the ultimate freedom and liberty for my family.
On an average day, it can be difficult to remember what our soldiers have given to this country. Our freedoms are paid for by the dedication, blood, sweat, and tears of our fighting brothers and sisters in arms—who sometimes are required to pay the ultimate sacrifice. Memorial Day gives us a chance to take a step back and show appreciation for all our fallen soldiers who dedicated their lives to protect and preserve our way of life. These brave warriors put everything on the line for us and deserve our gratitude on this day of reflection.
Here’s what Memorial Day means to other Extra Space Storage team members:
Michael Pontillo – Division Vice President
“If I had to summarize what Memorial Day means to me in a word or two, it would be HONOR and HEROES. It’s a day set aside to memorialize and honor those who literally sacrificed their lives to ensure that we – me and you and our children – have the opportunity to live in the greatest nation on earth with freedoms and liberties like no other. Too often, these sacrifices are forgotten, and the freedoms are diminished. On Memorial Day, though, we have the privilege to honor these true heroes. We mourn their loss and thank them for their ultimate sacrifice.”
Josh Villalpando – IT Business Analyst
“Memorial Day to me is more than just a holiday weekend. It’s a day for us to truly honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice. It’s a day to reflect on the men and women who died fighting for our country. We need to recognize those who gave their lives to help keep our Constitution, beliefs, and this country as free as it is today. No matter how you feel, live, or vote, we must commemorate those who gave everything with such unselfish hearts. It is also about remembrance and connecting with families and friends who bring us joy. Memorial Day is an occasion to give thanks and show appreciation for the soldiers who have woven themselves into our lives to defend our freedom.”
Maure Williams – Store Manager
“I am a Navy veteran who proudly served during 9/11 and also the mother of a current U.S. Navy sailor. Memorial Day means taking the time to pay respect to all those who paid the ultimate price to protect our country. They paved the way for many men and women like me to be able to serve. I celebrate Memorial Day by spending time with my family. This year we will be going to Busch Gardens.”