I don't know if anyone I knew and loved fell in battle, but many of my family have served their country in the various branches. My brother was in the Army, but thankfully got out when yet another gopher hole tried to eat his ankle. Don't ask. My Uncle was in the Air Force, even flying Air Force Two for a while. My Grandfather was in the Coast Guard during World War II. I have a cousin in the Air Force. I have a friend who was in the Army during the Vietnam War (conflict, my ass!) - I never once resented the calls at three-o'clock in the morning; nightmares shy away from friendly voices, from reason and reassurance. Another friend was in the Army until it broke his back - literally. He survived, but not his plans for a lifetime in the military - they don't want broken people, no matter how useful or clever they are.
For a history of this day, go here. Or here. Or here. In a nutshell, Memorial Day is for remembering the fallen. Veteran's Day is for honoring the living. That's why they get two days, and so they should. Men and women stand up and make targets of themselves to maintain our freedoms every day of the year, so the least we can do is take two days to tell them "Thanks. Thanks for acting against human nature and protecting me and mine. Thanks for losing an arm, a leg, a life so that I don't have to."
It's not about the politics. I'm non-violent. I don't think war is ever a reasonable response to conflict. I won't forget, though, that people have laid down their lives so that I may stand on a street corner protesting (I never would) them, or denigrating (never, ever!) them for their service.
Perhaps one day, we won't have any new graves to decorate. Until then, I remember and (as best I can) I honor.