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Published: February 28th 2015
My latest slew of blog post have been sharing with everyone my recent travels and all the magnificent places I got to see. As I wrote all those posts and thought about everything I did, I started to question the reason behind traveling. If all we do is travel to "see" things and places are we really gaining anything or are we just able to check another thing off out list. I would agree that there are some places that we simply to travel to, to see and marvel at the beauty. Many of these places exist in Ireland's beautiful countryside, but even places of nature and places like the Eiffel Tower can teach us something. As I think back about last week, I realize just how much I learned, especially from Normandy and Auschwitz.
In my recent blog posts, I tried to apply what I have learned and it may seem miniscule and unimportant, but what I have learned can be applied to the present day. In my blog post about Normandy I used German instead of Nazi and vice versa in my Auschwitz post. I think it is very important to make this difference. In Normandy, many of the Germans were there fighting not on their own accord. Many of them were older men or young boys. Some of the boys as young as 14, being forced to fire upon an enemy without a real understanding of what they were doing. Auschwitz on the other hand I used Nazi because the horrors and atrocities that took place there. I do not want to lead people to believe that all German soldiers were fighting against their will in Normandy or that all Auschwitz guards agreed with what was happening, but for a large majority, it holds true. I think it is important to make this difference because as Americans we many time forget that on every side of an American bullet is not only an American soldier risking their life, but also another human being. "Enemies" or "Bad Guys" are not inhuman and in the case of WWII I think we often forget this. I think we need to make it clear that not all Germans were Nazis. After talking to fellow exchange students, from Germany, I have found out exactly how offensive it is to call a German a Nazi. I think it is something we do not realize, but something we should become aware of. I think the difference that exists between German and Nazi can be applied to the present when we talk about Muslims. Something that so many Americans fail to realize is that Muslim and radical extremist are very different. In this new age of global terrorism, one our biggest mistakes is to see all Muslim people as the same and many times, see them as terrorist. This could not be further from the truth and by doing this we further alienate ourselves. So as a traveler, educated person, and citizen of this global world, it is my job to end this ignorance and I hope that after reading this, you too will commit to ending the ignorance that exists no matter what faith, nationality or group people are part of.
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