Every year on Memorial Day, the citizens of the United States honor the brave men and women who had fallen while serving our country. I can’t begin to empathize with what that must feel like—to lose someone close to me while serving. I am proudly married to a US Navy veteran and I’m extremely thankful that we can celebrate Veterans Day together. In a freakish way, I can’t even sympathize with those who have lost loved ones during their service because I am so fortunate to still have my parents, sister, and close relatives living today.

But the realization hit that I don’t need to relate to the feeling of loss in order to honor those soldiers who are gone. I’d like to believe that their sacrifices allow me to sit here, in the comfort of my home office editing photos or jeeping around the beautiful expanse of this amazing country with my camera. While that may sound overly-romanticized, I wholly believe in it and I am so grateful for it.

Those of you who have followed me over the years, you know that I don’t care to bring politics into what I share. It’s not because I don’t have my opinions, but rather I prefer to discuss them in person and with a mutual understanding of respect in debate. However, I will say that with all the mania surrounding our country’s political climate, I genuinely hope that we do not squander or take in vain the ultimate sacrifices made by our fallen soldiers.

To the families of all the fallen US Military Service Members who happen to find yourselves reading this post, please accept my sincerest condolences for your loss. Know that while I cannot begin to understand what that type of loss feels like, I have the utmost respect, admiration, and appreciation for it.