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Here are nine great reads (and views) that get to the heart of what Memorial Day weekend is really about.

#1 Julie Webb lost her son in a training accident. She turned that loss into something that helps others by helping families of the fallen through the USO.

#2 Do you know how Memorial Day came into being? Mental Floss has you covered with its list of 10 facts about the holiday.

#3 The Washington Post has the story of Lt. Col. Michael B. Baka, a soldier who was so inspired by the actions of his comrades – including a subordinate who jumped on a grenade – that that he joined The Old Guard to honor them.

#4 London Bell lost her Marine brother at war. She found help through a community of Americans dealing with the same thing.

#5 USO program partner TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) is prominent in the news around Memorial Day because of the unique families they help. TAPS CEO Bonnie Carroll wrote about Memorial Day for Huffington Post.

#6 How do we reconcile memories of the ones we’ve lost? The USO’s Sarah Kemp – who worked for the organization in Afghanistan and now in Arlington, Virginia – wrote this blog post in 2012. The message is just as relevant today.

#7 The story of how a spur-of-the-moment visit to the USO for one mom brought her just a little bit closer to her fallen son.

#8 How are Americans around the country  thinking about Memorial Day? Here’s a look at the military driven Sunday front pages from newspapers around the U.S.

#9 Just because a soldier doesn’t die on the battlefield doesn’t mean his loss isn’t deeply felt. Here’s a story of how the USO and TAPS helped quickly reunite one family of the fallen in the wake of their son’s suicide.