Today is Memorial Day, a day traditionally set aside to remember the soldiers who have died fighting for out country — approximately 1.8 million since 1775. As wakeboarders, though, Memorial Day is seen as the beginning of the season and nothing more than an excuse to party a little harder and get an extra day of riding.

As the series Band of Brothers plays back on the History Channel, though, I can’t help but think about how often we overlook the sacrifices made in the past by American soldiers so we can live in the society we do now. Even today, as many of us are hanging out in the sun on our boats with our friends, and undoubtedly riding our wakeboards, American troops are abroad fighting a war. While we have the right as Americans to agree or disagree with a war, we don’t have the right to ignore the soldiers who are fighting it.

So while you enjoy your sunny day, your light beer, and your gas-guzzling wakeboard boats, remember that today isn’t just about wakeboarding. Today was set aside for a reason far greater than riding on a board behind a boat. It was set aside to commemorate our countrymen who have served us and sacrificed their lives for us, so that we can even have the opportunity to ride in the first place.