Tucsonan Paul Martinez retired from the military after 37 years of service in the Army and the Air Force,and he remains active in raising awareness of veterans issues.

Tops on the list is making sure Americans honor and remember those have died serving their country.

As a member of American Legion Post 102, Martinez is involved in the annual Memorial Day Parade and ceremony on the city's west side. The events are organized by different groups, including American Veterans Post 770 and Tucson Estates Property Owners Association.

He says it's good to enjoy Memorial Day for pool parties, barbecues and other recreational activities. At the same time, he encourages his fellow Americans not to lose sight of the holiday's original intent when it was established in the 1800s.

"Memorial Day is to honor the dead that died fighting for our freedom," Martinez says. "All these picnics and all that are nice, but you should reserve just a few minutes to say a small prayer for all these veterans, because without them we wouldn't be here."

The Memorial Day Parade at Tucson Estates is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m.on Monday followed by a 9 a.m. ceremony in Tucson Estates, near West Ajo Way and South Kinney Road.