For the families of fallen troops, Memorial Day is more than just one day a year. It's everyday for Gold Star Mother Sherrie Battle McGhee.
"I'm going to be honest with you. I was just as guilty as the next family growing up. It was picnics, family, occasional firework here and there," she said.
That all changed on May 13, 2009. On his fourth tour, Corporal Ryan McGhee died on duty. The 21-year-old Army Ranger was shot in a firefight with the enemy in Iraq.
Sherrie now spends her Memorial Days with other Gold Star families honoring Ryan and fellow fallen troops. This weekend she's attended the Smoky Mountain Thunder Memorial Ride and read names at the Knoxville East Tennessee Veterans Memorial among other events.
She's also reminded of her two sons' sacrifice every time she walks into a room in her home dedicated to their service. The walls are filled with pictures, flags, and medals they earned.
Her son, Staff Sgt. Zachary McGhee is still serving.
"He went on his second tour of duty eight months after Ryan was killed," she said.
The day he received his Army Ranger tab, he left Sherrie with a message she thinks about often.
He had just lost a friend in battle and he pulled his mom aside and said no one should take freedom for granted.
"He said, 'Remember, freedom is not free.' And so when Memorial Day comes around that shouts out very loud for me," she said.