Why Every American Should Visit A Veteran's Memorial

Why Every American Should Visit A Veteran's Memorial

If there's one thing that all Americans have in common, it's that we all live in a land that was fought for.
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In the recent event of my great-grandfather passing away, I was placed in front of the opportunity to visit a Veteran's Memorial cemetery. Growing up in what I never noticed to be much of a military family until this day, I often took for granted the WWII and Vietnam Veteran's hats, shirts, pins, POW flags and post-war memorabilia that are shown so proudly throughout my grandparents' and great-grandparents' houses. I never understood any of the terms that my grandparents would use when they spoke about war. I never understood the types of helicopters my grandfather flew in Vietnam. I never understood the weapons that my great-grandfather spoke of from WWII. I never fully understood the effort that was put into the respect of displaying the American flag properly. I always had plenty of questions about their experiences, but now it may be too late to ask. There was something about going to a military specific cemetery that touched me in a way that I believe every American citizen should experience at least once in their lives. I don't truly believe that we understand the sacrifice that these men and women have made for our country until we are standing in front of rows and rows of graves of fallen soldiers.

When the family car first pulled up to drive that was lined with American flags, I was overwhelmed with patriotism immediately. I felt like this was home. I felt like this place was where all members of my family were laid to rest. I felt like I knew all of these people. I felt the pain of everyone I came in contact with that day. Not only was I sad for my own biological family who was laying our own Veteran to rest, but I felt sorrow for the thousands of other families whose loved ones were laid beside him.

Even if you're a person who doesn't have a personal connection to the military, every American has a connection to the freedoms they fought for. It's images like this one that take your breath away as you realize that each of those individual stones represents a soldier, a person, a father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandson, granddaughter, grandmother, grandfather, neighbor, or friend. Each one of those stones represents an individual who fought for the ground that you're standing on today.

Visiting a memorial cemetery not only gives you a sense of pride for your country, but a undying respect for the people who are laid to rest there and for the people who are still out there potentially making the greatest sacrifice.

If not already on your bucket list, add it. If there's one thing that all Americans have in common, it's that we all live in a land that was fought for. To appreciate this sacrifice to the level it should be appreciated, this experience is necessary.

Cover Image Credit: Jessica Allen

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To The Parent Who Chose Addiction

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

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When I was younger I resented you, I hated every ounce of you, and I used to question why God would give me a parent like you. Not now. Now I see the beauty and the blessings behind having an addict for a parent. If you're reading this, it isn't meant to hurt you, but rather to thank you.

Thank you for choosing your addiction over me.

Throughout my life, you have always chosen the addiction over my programs, my swim meets or even a simple movie night. You joke about it now or act as if I never questioned if you would wake up the next morning from your pill and alcohol-induced sleep, but I thank you for this. I thank you because I gained a relationship with God. The amount of time I spent praying for you strengthened our relationship in ways I could never explain.

SEE ALSO: They're Not Junkies, You're Just Uneducated

Thank you for giving me a stronger bond with our family.

The amount of hurt and disappointment our family has gone through has brought us closer together. I have a relationship with Nanny and Pop that would never be as strong as it is today if you had been in the picture from day one. That in itself is a blessing.

Thank you for showing me how to love.

From your absence, I have learned how to love unconditionally. I want you to know that even though you weren't here, I love you most of all. No matter the amount of heartbreak, tears, and pain I've felt, you will always be my greatest love.

Thank you for making me strong.

Thank you for leaving and for showing me how to be independent. From you, I have learned that I do not need anyone else to prove to me that I am worthy of being loved. From you, I have learned that life is always hard, but you shouldn't give into the things that make you feel good for a short while, but should search for the real happiness in life.

Most of all, thank you for showing me how to turn my hurt into motivation.

I have learned that the cycle of addiction is not something that will continue into my life. You have hurt me more than anyone, but through that hurt, I have pushed myself to become the best version of myself.

Thank you for choosing the addiction over me because you've made me stronger, wiser, and loving than I ever could've been before.

Cover Image Credit: http://crashingintolove.tumblr.com/post/62246881826/pieffysessanta-tumblr-com

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9 Reasons Your Grandparents Are The Best Gifts You'll Ever Receive

They love us unconditionally and are always there to lend a helping hand.

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Grandparents are special. They are the leaders and foundations of our families. They love us unconditionally and are always there to lend a helping hand. The spoil us way too often! My grandparents mean the world to me. The picture above is one of my favorite photos with both my mother and my grandfather when I was a little girl. They are some of the best people in my life and have always set a good example for me. Cherish them while you can because they won't always be around! Here are nine reasons your grandparents are the best gifts you'll ever receive!

1. They give the best advice.

2. They have a lot of life experience and are willing to share it with you.

3. Their smile makes your heart warm.

4. They are so intelligent.

5. They have the best stories to share.

6. They are a great example of love.

7. Their hugs are like no other.

8. They spoil their grandchildren.

9. They love you unconditionally.

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