Amidst the unofficial kick off to summer this past weekend, so many of us remembered the true meaning of Memorial Day.

Bradley Beach's Memorial Day Parade (Bud McCormick)

I heard stories this weekend about tributes and events that honored those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us and our freedom, and stories about the families who have to deal with that sacrifice on a daily basis.

There have certainly been critics who say that the meaning of Memorial Day has been blurred by the party atmosphere that exists on Memorial Day weekend, and there is certainly some truth to that as well.

I think we are a respectful group of people here at the Jersey Shore, and my hope is that as we kick off this summer and do all the things that summer brings, we don't just use Memorial Day weekend to remember, but instead frequently take a moment to reflect on the memory of  those who have made it all possible, and their families as well.