By Jena Williams

Ahhh – Memorial Day weekend. To most of us, especially in the temperate-weather state of Washington, this three-day weekend unofficially kicks off summer. We dust off the lawn furniture and fire up the barbeque for some family fun. It’s easy to forget the real reason for that extra day off, remembering those who were lost.

Originally, this holiday was to remember those who died in service to our country, however over time it has become generally accepted as a day to remember loved ones lost as well.

During your weekend, please also take time to remember the nine truck drivers who died on the job in Washington State during 2012: http://tires.lni.wa.gov/post/40523972961/in-memoriam

One driver has been killed so far in 2013 in Washington. I have not been able to find where his name has been released, but our condolences go out to his friends, family, company and the driver of the semi that crushed him. http://www.krem.com/news/Semi—204202971.html

Most trucking industry fatalities are caused by motor-vehicle collisions. Take a look at the tips below on safe driving during this busy weekend. There are some things big-rig drivers would like the motoring public to know to keep us all safe.

While most of us, celebrate an extra day off, the majority of the nation’s truck drivers will still be working. So please give them extra room. Remember that those trucks carry all the goods you need to have your family barbeque and to fill the grocery shelves.

Many big-rig drivers have lost their lives over the years due to the erratic behavior of passenger motorists or been killed because they couldn’t find a safe place to park and sleep. Some of their friends and families would like to have a day when our nation takes a moment to honor and consider what truckers do to keep the country rolling and those who have lost their lives in the process.  What are your thoughts on a National Day of Remembrance for Truck Drivers? http://www.overdriveonline.com/national-day-of-remembrance-for-truck-drivers/

I can’t have a conversation about our armed forces and truckers without at least a plug for the many programs out there to get our veterans involved in the trucking industry. Our nation is about to face a severe shortage of truck drivers. Many veterans with military commercial driving experience can fast-track CDL training for civilian jobs in trucking. Your country still needs you! http://www.dva.wa.gov/CDL.html . More news: http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fleet-management/article/story/2013/05/getting-veterans-in-the-driver-seat.aspx

While searching out details for this blog, I found a story that is so touching that I had to share with you readers even if it isn’t our usual industry focus. Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor and continues to be greatly missed by his dad. http://www.npr.org/2013/05/15/184246172/a-songwriter-and-an-army-dad-share-one-touching-story?sc=fb&cc=fmp

While we do want to take time to remember our loved ones and those we don’t know who died in service to our country, I think it’s wonderful to also make those memories with family and friends that are here! So fire up the grill! What should I bring?

SAFE DRIVING TIPS – You might be surprised what you don’t know

Tips for passenger vehicle drivers this Memorial Day Weekend: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/professional-truck-drivers-remind-motorists-to-be-safe-during-memorial-day-weekend-153640245.html

Tips for truck drivers this Memorial Day Weekend: http://www.truck-drivers-money-saving-tips.com/memorial-day.html