NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As we prepare for the holiday weekend we should remember the reason for the holiday. Paying tribute to the soldiers who gave their lives for our freedom.

Despite all the beaches and barbecues, Memorial Day is not a day to celebrate, but rather observe.

“Just to let everyone know in New York, it’s not all about the barbecue. It’s about that beautiful flag and the soldiers that gave their lives,” Staff Officer Ayala of the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Once a year, we’re called upon to honor those who served our nation.

“What should the tone of this weekend really be?” CBS2’s Steve Overmyer asked Navy veteran Ted Evan.

“Very, very solemn. very solemn. Because we’re honoring the men that went before us and gave us the country that we have,” Evan said.

Veterans honor their fallen comrades on Memorial Day. (Credit: CBS2)

Jeremy Butler is with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He told CBSN New York we can all join together at the same time to honor the veterans.

“There is a national moment of remembrance on Monday, 3 p.m. local time. We call the campaign ‘Go Silent‘… think about a service member in your family or close to you or service members in general who have given their lives for our country,” Butler explained.

WEB EXTRA – Jeremy Butler talks more about the Go Silent campaign for Memorial Day:

The message isn’t to be silent for the weekend. In fact, enjoy time with family, but pause to reflect and remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country’s freedom.

Servicemen and women hold the U.S. flag. (Credit: CBS2)

“They died for this country. They died for all of us to have those freedoms. To enjoy our day-to-day lives.  To enjoy our barbecue and to enjoy this holiday,” Thomas Prim of the Naval Academy said.

Along with veterans past and present, together we can honor those who have given everything to help give us a future.

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