On The World War II Memorial And Respect

On The World War II Memorial And Respect

Visiting the World War II monument in DC, I was baffled and appalled by the lack of respect many there showed for those we lost.
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I recently went on a school trip to Washington D.C. While there, we engaged in several activities throughout the capital, such as meeting with representatives and government agencies, engaging in a service project, visiting museums, and embarking on a night monuments tour.

During the night monuments tour, our first stop was the WWII memorial. If you've never been, it is truly beautiful, with a fountain in the middle, a wall with hundreds of stars each representing a thousand Americans we lost in the war, and surrounding pillars with states and territories engraved. There are also several signs clearly asking visitors to not wade in or throw coins in the fountain out of respect for those for whom the memorial was constructed.

I was appalled by how many people were breaking that rule. There were many little children who were wading in the water, which, while I wish their parents would have attempted to stop them, I can still understand. What I do not understand is the number of adults who were also wading or sticking their feet in the water.

What I do not understand is why there were so many coins riddled throughout the fountain's base. What I do not understand is the people of all ages who were running around and laughing and seemingly treating the whole monument as a joke.

What I do not understand is why there were so many people trying to take "artsy" pictures of themselves rather than stopping to respect those we've lost.

I am a pacifist, through and through; I do not believe in war and barely believe in military.

But at the same time, I have a massive amount of respect and admiration for people willing to risk their lives in the pursuit of protecting something greater than themselves. I am thankful we have people in this country who are willing to make sacrifices in war, even if I rarely agree with the war itself.

Truthfully, World War II was not that long ago. There are still people alive from that time. People who may have fought in the war and lost fellow soldiers whom that memorial was built to respect and acknowledge. Citizens who may have lost friends and family members in the war, whose fathers or brothers may be one of those more than 400,000 brave soldiers recognized in the wall of stars.

At a few of the pillars, there were wreaths or flowers left by a group out of respect, presumably for someone whom they'd lost in the war.

And many people at the memorial seemed to either have no idea or not care. There was such a wanton lack of respect amongst the people there, who must have thought they had just ventured upon some pretty fountain meant as a park for enjoyment, rather than a memorial meant for respect and remembrance.

If you ever get the chance to visit the World War II memorial, please treat it and those we lost with proper respect. Please do not denigrate the memory of those we lost and disrespect their families. There are plenty of beautiful spots in D.C. where one should feel free to flaunt about and be filled with nothing but joy; this shouldn't be a hard ask.

Cover Image Credit: Nick Wagner

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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President Trump’s Wall Is Not A Solution, It Causes More Harm Than You Think

After the second government shutdown since Donald Trump's inauguration, immigrants and opponents of the wall are not the only ones suffering.

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At this time of writing this, the government has been shut down for 19 days. Friday will be the first day that workers in one of the affected organizations will not receive a paycheck. Children on free lunch programs will have gone without this service for 19 days. Families on food stamps are unable to receive one of the most necessary and basic human rights. This is not an emotional tangent, but rather a reasonable suggestion to our government to do their jobs. Both political sides can be seen at fault, as a negotiation usually occurs between dissenting opinions. However, compromises are made through understanding and reasoning.

However, while our government converses about their views on the proposed wall, I will offer mine. With a price tag of $5 billion to construct, this is not a cheap and short-term project. Building this "border" will take money out of every American's pocket; our government simply does not have $5 billion in a savings account. Funding may occur in the form of taxes, which is already a system that has been reformed and looked over time and time again. If the administration follows through with their prior statements, then funding may also come from the budgets of other existing agencies. Additionally, since President Trump is a man of maximalism, the construction of a wall will impede on residential lives for those who live along the southern border. This affects major cities and towns such as San Diego, El Paso, and San Luis.

In a capitalist country where money and finances are a concern, there are many agencies that would thrive if they could obtain a fraction of this billion dollar proposal.

Schools need funding. The criminal justice system and public defenders need funding. Women's health services, like Planned Parenthood, need funding (Planned Parenthood has stated that government money does not get used in abortion services). Did you know that Planned Parenthood only receives $500 million for their annual budget, which is 1/10th of the wall's budget? With a fraction of this budget, you could fund a project to provide clean and safe drinking water across the world. The governmental funding for the Environmental Protection Agency has been halved, and it is now less than the budget for this wall. Humanitarian services need funding. We could help the homeless and build walls… four walls for a shelter, that is. Remember Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria? There are still people without power- our government is responsible and needs money to aid these citizens.

I understand that people want stricter security and immigration services. A wall is not a solution. Airplanes exist- people can fly over the wall. Boats exist- traveling to America via water occurs. Building a power symbol cannot solve a "national emergency," as Donald Trump believes; the national emergency lies in the suffering Americans who will be impacted by the attempts to get this wall built.

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