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When you google Memorial Day weekend, the first results are American flags, barbeques, and pictures of America’s heroes. For older generations, these images inspire feelings of patriotism and respect but sadly, it’s too often a different case for the younger generations.

As a collegiate student, it seems that I am constantly surrounded by liberal ideals, which while I may not always agree with, is perfectly fine. I have no issues with students protesting against war, or running pro-Hillary campaigns. I think it is great that young people are inspired enough to take action and stand up for their personal beliefs. This activist mindset can breathe life into a college campus and inspire debates between students.

Unfortunately, my generation seems to have equated being an activist, and far left, with hating America and is far too willing to take on that perspective. Sadly, it has become such a common occurrence that I am no longer surprised when I hear Americans bashing on the United States.

The most jarring experience I had with this form of ignorance was on President’s Day. A club on campus was passing out mini U.S. constitutions to students walking past. Some students took the booklets, others politely declined, but then there were those kids. Those students would walk by and proclaim things like, “F#*k America” and “I hate America”. You know the type, the ones that associate patriotism with being a republican (which to them seems worse than being a direct descendant of Hitler)?

What angered me so much is that patriotism is not a partisan ideal. Love for the United States, and respect for those who give their lives to save it should resonate deep within every American. The irony is that the military that those students love to condemn is the very same one fighting to protect their right to that opinion.

We, the millenials, have grown up in an time of relative peace domestically. The worst event that I can remember is 9/11 and even then, many of us wouldn’t understand the true impact of the attack until years later. We, as Americans, are incredibly lucky to live in a country that isn’t war torn, where we don’t have to worry about airstrikes passing over head or terror groups coming to attack us in the dead of night. I am incredibly grateful that we are able to be sheltered to the extent that we are, but too often, I think it causes millenials to take this privilege for granted.

I encourage every millennial to take a moment and appreciate all the rights afforded to us. As we celebrate this Memorial Day, I would like to extend my respect and gratitude to those serving to fight to protect our freedom of speech and other liberties we are so fortunately granted.

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