It is Aloha Friday and the start of the holiday weekend that traditionally marks the start of summer for most of us living on the mainland. We by now have opened the pools, planted our veggies, dug our dahlia beds and readied our flower gardens and hanging baskets (already sporting birds’ nests). The deck furniture is washed and ready for al fresco dining on those beautiful long summer evenings. Stop and think though. This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and what began as a memorial to our war dead and expanded to a day of remembrance of all those who have passed should not be defined as the first day at the beach. In Hawaii, a tradition borrowed from the Bhuddist ceremony, Toro Nagashi is now a Memorial Day event. Thousands of small floating lanterns, each bearing the name of someone who has passed, are lit and sent out to sea at Ala Moana Park. It is a beautiful and sobering sight to see and it is truly full of Aloha. The light emanating from these little lanterns represent the legacies loved ones have left us. This is a time to give pause and not only feel the gratitude for their lives but also to think about what life lessons did they pass on to us? Bravery? Integrity? Resilience? Humor? Love? Aloha? Take some time this weekend as you attend a memorial event or plant a flower in your garden to say a prayer of gratitude for those who gave their lives for their country as well as those who touched your life in a special way. Wave a flag of pride and love at your hometown parades and celebrate those who helped make our lives better in ways we take for granted. Engage your spirit of freedom and begin the summer season with a nod to the legacy of family, friends and soldiers who have left their footprints on our hearts. Light a lantern or a candle and honor them by connecting with the gifts of the heart they have given you. Their legacies become part of yours to pass on as well. I invite you to feel the gratitude, joy and zest for life that comes from losing those close to us. This connection to their spirit lives on through us and beyond. Make it a great and memorable weekend filled with Aloha Spirit!