I and my family have been very fortunate not to have lost any of our members in service since the U.S. Civil War.
To counter a few posts - military personnel and families are not in any way required to observe Memorial Day. That they continue to do so gladdens my heart. They share, in a small way, the loss and suffering of the families of those who were lost or MIA. They share in the sacrifices made to defend this country by watching Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, etc. wave good-bye from pier side or on the flightline, bravely facing long deployments, not knowing if they will ever see that loved one again.
Yes, the military is a very good place to learn a vocation. It's a good place to go to become a mature citizen rather than stay on the streets and struggle in today's society and economy. Does patriotism come into play? I'd like to think so, but it's not necesarily so. One things for sure, it's not a place for the weak or the lazy. There is a job to be done that requires sacrifices above and beyond the worth of paycheck or pension and sometimes the ultimate sacrifice is made.
Most of us who do celebrate it are probably doing the same thing that any civilian actually celebrating it is. Remembering loved one's lost and praying that it never need happen again.