For some Americans the first thought that comes to mind when someone mentions Memorial Day is a day off from work, the kickoff to summer or backyard barbecues. For Bills seventh-round pick Kyle Calloway he immediately thinks of his military family.
With the last three generations of Calloways having served in the military, it's second nature for the lineman's thoughts on this holiday to be about those service men and women that made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
"It's a special holiday for our family," he said. "I come from a strong military background. Both of my grandfathers were in the army. My dad served in the Air Force, my brother is currently serving in the Air Force right now. It's a real special day to just kind of reflect on what our veterans have done."
Calloway's father Ed Calloway enlisted in the Air Force at age 19 and retired 22 years later as a Chief Master Sergeant, the highest pay grade in that branch of the service. As a military kid Kyle initially found it difficult to understand the reasons for all the location changes during his childhood and the long periods of time when his dad was away from home.
"It took some growing up on my part to understand the commitment involved," he said. "I would always think about the negative things regarding the military. Having to move to a bunch of different places and changing schools. But if you think about what these men and women are doing in the service and what they do on a daily basis you learn what real sacrifice is."
As he got older he became more aware of the responsibilities involved for his dad and later his brother Kevin, who is now stationed overseas in Bahrain. Calloway's brother flies C-17 cargo planes and has seen an awful lot during his time in the Middle East.
"He graduated from the Air Force Academy in 2004 or 2005," Calloway said. "He's got an eight-year commitment and he's about to be promoted to Captain."
Calloway himself will not serve, but he has done plenty of volunteer work at the local Veterans Hospital near his family's home in Tucson, Arizona. And though Memorial Day is more about those that have lost their lives defending our country, Calloway believes it's perfectly fine for civilians to make a point of showing the veterans that are still with us some measure of appreciation.
"I think that everyone kind of needs to realize why we have this day and enjoy it for the liberties that our service people provide," said Calloway. "Even though we're remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice, it's still a day to thank a vet. Their service is amazing and something special."