Monday is Memorial Day, a holiday that many of us will spend enjoying a day off work, traveling or gathering with loved ones over food and fun, and celebrating the start of summer. 

While relaxing and celebrating is a great way to spend a holiday, please take some time on Monday to remember and honor the lives of those who were lost serving in the U.S. military. 

“Memorial Day is a day to recognize our troops who lost their lives to keep us safe, but not everyone really understands what that means,” said Audrey Brown, senior nuclear instructor and 35-year veteran. “When you serve, you sacrifice all your freedoms to protect your country and your people, so that’s why we honor them, especially those who ultimately sacrificed their lives.”  

“It’s important for people to know what it really means to serve, the values we’re taught, and recognize those who have died to keep us safe,” Brown added, “and one of the best ways to honor that is through awareness and education.” 

Brown shared some of the values she learned during her service that we can all benefit from. 

“One of the first things you learn in basic training is respect and equality,” she shared. “When you begin training, everyone is treated equally. It doesn’t matter where you came from, what color skin you have or what gender you are, you’re treated with the same respect regardless of rank or stature, and that’s something we can all apply in our everyday lives.” 

Brown typically spends Memorial Day participating in parades to commemorate our fallen soldiers, paying condolences at veteran cemeteries and performing a 21-gun salute, the most recognized military honor. 

Brown joined DTE in 2014 while still carrying out her service. “DTE supported and cared for me while I was still serving, and you don’t always find that,” she expressed. “My manager and team always checked on me and asked how things were going. Our company does an outstanding job taking care of their veterans. It’s just beautiful.” 

DTE’s Veteran Empowerment Transition and Support (VETS) energy resource group supports, recruits and provides mentorship and fellowship to employees who are military veterans. VETS act as champions of veteran education to promote awareness, understanding and acceptance of the military community, and works to create a community of service that fosters progress and benefits for veterans and military supporters throughout DTE.