We learn things from our parents, even when they're not directly trying to teach us.
I can remember that my mother always got a lump in her throat when she looked at an American flag.
She and my father were both in what was then the Army Air Core (there wasn't an Air Force yet) during WWII. That's how they met. All of my uncles served in the military, and my son Devon graduated from USMA West Point last year and is scheduled to deploy this coming February, if not sooner. Through these people I hear accounts of war time experiences. (Although my father never shared a single war story. It is through my mother that I learned that he was a POW for a short time and had malaria.)
One of Devon's favorite quotes is from John Stuart Mills and I always think on it around Memorial Day:
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
As I think on those who have died in service to our country I don't have anything creative or clever to say. Just that I'm grateful for their exertions, grateful for what they gave.