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Mt. Soledad National Veteran Memorial

As a history student, I was always keen to get in touch with representations of specific events or personalities that shaped the journey of our country to what it is today. As part of my research, I visited the Mt. Soledad National Veteran Memorial with a group of other students last week and I would like to share my thoughts in regards of how this experience helped me both from a personal and academic standpoint.

We decided to visit this place as part of a thesis on how the military figures are commemorated today. The main purpose of such an analysis is to test the awareness of the average American in regards to the figures of our past.

We had the pleasant surprise to encounter a significant number of visitors at the Mt. Soledad National Veteran Memorial – visitors from all kinds of backgrounds, not only history teachers and students but also people that are interested to get in touch with the figures that made our nation flourish today. We have got the chance to hold conversations with a couple of them – we could not hide our amazement while looking at the pictures and reading the amazing stories.

The Mt. Soledad National Veteran Memorial is structured as a gallery composed of photo plaques attached to 11 walls. It chronologically covers personalities from the earliest war encounters to today’s War on Terror – reminding us of the sacrifices that some of our citizens made to build a better future for our civilization.

Under each photo plaque, there is a storyline attached, a brief but exhaustive statement about the person’s contribution to a specific military confrontation. One might feel overwhelmed while getting in contact with the amazing gallery, but in normal circumstances, there is a guide available for thoroughly explaining every concept the visitor may find tricky, I had the amazing chance to find out more about personalities that inspire me as a history student and build a wider perspective about the journey of our country to what it is today.

I went there in a group of five students and we were keen to take notes of everything happening around us. We arrived at the location and we were welcomed by an incredibly professional staff member – it took a couple of very brief formalities to be officially able to get inside. We have got the chance to talk to the guide and we have been overwhelmed by his knowledge and experience. Once in the gallery, we noticed how many people were actually visiting this place on a regular basis and that filled us with joy – like the drive to be in touch with our past has not disappeared.

The guide walked us through the sides of this place – we noticed that those commemorated included presidents, admirals, generals, and veterans that sacrificed themselves for the good of the country. We also remarked on the structure – the perfectly logical way in which the pictures were attached to the walls (mainly in chronological order). We read the stories under each picture and we took notes for a research purpose. Also, we decided to interview a couple of the visitors for our study on the actual importance of commemorating the past figures for the average American. Needless to say, everyone was pleasantly surprised by the atmosphere and willing to come back at the earliest opportunity.

What we found the most appealing is the constant update that the Mt. Soledad National Veteran Memorial is subject to. If you have a veteran in your family that meets the given criteria, there is a chance for this person to be recognized and shown on the walls of this place. This constant update reminds us that we still have heroes that need to be acknowledged not only by us but also by future generations.

I would strongly recommend visiting Mt. Soledad National Veteran Memorial not only to the history students, teachers, or specialists but also to everyone who feels the need to get in touch and praise the figures that contributed to what America is today. Last, but not least, even if history is not your passion, visiting this place is an incredible opportunity to enrich your general knowledge and educate yourself on different subjects. I can guarantee you will not regret it and you will decide to return at the earliest opportunity.

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