The nation observes its 47th federally recognized Memorial Day today. The tradition memorializes those who died while serving in the US Military.

Louisiana Department of Veterans Affairs spokesperson Alex Juan is asking people to keep in mind what that means for Gold Star Families who have lost a loved one in service.

"For us and these Gold Star families, every single day is Memorial Day," said Juan. "For many of us that served, Memorial Day brings about this painful wave of emotions as recall the the lives of the friends that we've lost along the way."

Hundreds of thousands of service men and women have died since 1776, and Juan says if you haven’t had a chance to honor one of them at a veteran’s cemetery, today is the day to do it.

"If you've never been to a veteran's cemetery, get out there, read one of the headstones, say their name, learn something about that service member," said Juan.