Celebrate the holiday by remembering our fallen soldiers and acting to make America better.

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ST. LOUIS - The most important part of Memorial Day weekend, is pausing to pay respects to America's fallen service members.

Who will you be remembering this Memorial Day weekend?

We'd like to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. Please post a photograph of your hero and tell us a little about them. If you don't have a photo, you can honor them with just your words as well.

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Memorial Day isn't just a break from work
By Chad Storlie

The plans for this Memorial Day have been made. A picnic in the park, a short vacation to the lake, a trip to the shopping mall, or maybe a visit to a military memorial or a parade. These are all well deserved rests – Americans work hard. However, as Americans, we need to force ourselves to pause and remember the fallen.

On Memorial Day, we remember those that fell in combat during America's conflicts. It could be a U.S. Army paratrooper at Bastogne during World War II, a U.S. Marine on the banks of the frozen Chosin Reservoir in Korea, a U.S. Navy Sailor patrolling the Mekong Delta in Vietnam or a U.S. Air Force pilot bombing southern Iraq during Desert Storm.

We remember them all – their courage, sacrifice, professionalism, dedication and the essence that made them devote their life to their country. The Memorial Days since 9/11, we have primarily remembered those that have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nor can we forget the "small" wars of Panama, Haiti, Somalia and Lebanon, as well as countless other terrorist attacks where American servicemen and servicewomen died.

For America, remembering the sacrifice of others is not enough. The Americans who died in combat died acting with the conviction, dedication and passion that they were making America and the world safer and better. They were right and we need to repay their devotion with a dedication to act to make America better, just as they were doing when they fell. We need to act in a way that makes America better.

Before May turns into June and the memories of the fallen fade for another year, make a decision to act to make America better. Tutor a child, donate blood, support a local charity, have dinner with strangers at a retirement community for a week, help a veteran advance their post-military career, learn CPR, coach a sport, volunteer in your local VA hospital, serve dinner at a homeless shelter not on Thanksgiving – the list of options to serve America is endless.

Make Memorial Day a day to remember and a day to start acting to remember the fallen throughout the year and not just on one day. Small actions to make America better begin with the values that embody military service: dedication, sacrifice and selfless service. Your actions to make America better are the true recognition of the sacrifice of the fallen.

Chad Storlie is a Marketing & Sales Director at Union Pacific Railroad and the author of Combat Leader to Corporate Leader. He is a retired Army Special Forces (Green Beret) Lieutenant Colonel and an Iraq combat veteran.

In addition to its own editorials, USA TODAY publishes diverse opinions from outside writers, including our Board of Contributors. To read more columns like this, go to theopinion front page or follow us on twitter @USATopinion or Facebook.

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