The non-stop barrage of negative news and/or nasty fake news can really grind us all down sometimes, so I scoured the web and found a few things that I hope will help lighten the load and brighten everyone’s weekend.

Honor Flight Brings Veterans to D.C. to Visit Their War Memorials

Lea Gabrielle joined 150 veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War on an honor flight to Washington, D.C., to visit their war memorials.

Gabrielle, a Navy veteran, explained that nonprofit organization Stars and Stripes Honor Flight flies veterans from Milwaukee to the nation’s capital to honor them for their service.

When they arrived in D.C., they received a hero’s welcome, with dozens of well-wishers cheering for them and holding signs expressing thanks and gratitude.

“When we got back from Vietnam, there was no welcome. It was like nobody cared about us, to be honest,” one vet said. “It’s the welcome home we never got.”

Gabrielle said time spent at the World War II memorial brought awe, while the Vietnam memorial brought tears.

Brothers Roger, Conn and Grant Hagen, who all served in Vietnam, grew emotional as they looked at the 58,318 names of the fallen carved into the memorial wall.

When the vets got back on the plane to go home, they received a special surprise: letters of thanks from their loved ones.

Back in Milwaukee, they were greeted by family, friends and dozens of grateful Americans.

“For many, returning to their loved ones is that welcome home they’ve been waiting so long for,” Gabrielle said.

Toddler Who Saluted Fallen Officer For 2 Straight Hours Is Surprised With Pint-Size Squad Car

In early October 2017, 3-year-old Cohen Chastain honored a fallen officer from his hometown by standing up and saluting during her funeral procession — for two straight hours.

The tot’s actions moved not only his family but also the entire Floyd County Sheriff’s Office.

On October 24, 2017, the police officers wanted to thank Cohen for what he did and decided to make him an honorary police officer for the day. Like any officer, Cohen needed his very own squad car.

Everyone in the police department chipped in and bought Cohen his own pint-sized squad car as well as other goodies.

“Many of you might recall this amazing three-year-old. Cohen stood for more than two hours during the processional honoring our sister, Det. Kristen Hearne. We wanted to bless Cohen for his selfless act of support and love,” the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post.


MORE HERE

Autumn is beautiful for those who can see the wonderful colors of the leaves as they change on the trees, and now even colorblind people have a chance to enjoy it at a National Park in Tennessee. Via GoodNewsNetwork:

According to the National Park Service, the Great Smoky Mountain range in Tennesse is the most visited national park in America. When October and November roll around, the mountain ranges transform into a breathtaking collage of red, orange, and yellow colors.

For 13 million Americans who suffer from colorblindness, however, the scenery remains a bland shade of greenish-brown.

This is why the Tennessee Department of Tourism Development installed several special viewing devices for colorblind visitors across the park.

READ MORE & SEE VIDEO HERE

If you are color blind and can’t get to Tennessee, there is a company that makes special glasses that people can wear to help.

If you need boots and want to Buy American, Digg has an article about six American boot making companies, HERE.

Have a nice weekend, everyone.

There is a brand new water park in San Antonio, Texas, that is designed to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of physical limitations or other special needs a person may have. Via Sunny Skyz:

Morgan’s Inspiration Island in San Antonio, Texas, is making sure kids with disabilities don’t miss out on all the fun this summer.

Every section of the the new water park is wheelchair accessible and guests with special needs are admitted at no cost.

Other features of Morgan’s Inspiration Island include waterproof RFID (radio-frequency identification) wristbands so parents can keep track of their kids, a seven-story lighthouse and a water play area called Rainbow Reef, which has water that can be warmed for guests with sensitivity to cold.

In a press release, owner Gordon Hartman said the team behind Inspiration Island consulted with water park professionals, doctors and experts in special education and special needs, as well as received input from local teachers, parents and caregivers.

The park also offers private areas for guests to transfer out of their personal wheelchairs to waterproof ones.

“We recently unveiled with the University of Pittsburgh revolutionary new wheelchairs propelled by compressed air,” Gordon said. “Our guests in expensive battery-powered wheelchairs can’t afford to get them wet, so we have special Morgan’s Inspiration Island PneuChairs.”

They really did try to think of everything a person with special needs might need to be able to enjoy this unique water park, including providing water proof undergarments – free of charge – for people who may need them.

The fully handicapped accessible water park was preceded by Morgan’s Wonderland, which is an amusement park that was designed to be enjoyed by people with and without special needs, after the parents of Morgan Hartman noticed that Morgan, who has physical and cognitive limitations, wanted to be with other kids at a hotel pool, but the able bodied kids appeared to be uneasy about playing with a special needs child. So Morgan’s parents decided to make a place where all kinds of kids could come together and have fun, in the spirit of friendship and inclusion:

The tipping point occurred in 2005 when Gordon observed Morgan wanting to play with other vacationing kids at a hotel swimming pool, but the kids were leery of Morgan and didn’t want to interact with her.  Then and there, Gordon resolved to create opportunities and places where those with and without disabilities can come together not only for fun but also for a better understanding of one another.  That led to the construction of Morgan’s Wonderland in an abandoned quarry in Northeast San Antonio.  It’s apropos that the butterfly is the symbol of this unique theme park; soaring to one success after another is now commonplace.

When it celebrated its grand opening April 10, 2010, Morgan’s Wonderland became the world’s first theme park designed with special-needs individuals in mind and built for everyone’s enjoyment.  The completely wheelchair-accessible park features more than 25 elements including rides, playgrounds and other colorful attractions.  From the very beginning, anyone with a special need has been admitted free of charge, no questions asked.

It is Morgan’s fervent hope that everyone with a special need – young and older, healthy or ailing, introspective or outgoing – will be touched in a very special way by Morgan’s Wonderland:  a shrine of inclusion, an oasis of friendship, an unforgettable wonderland…Morgan’s Wonderland!

[…]

Our vision is to establish a special place where smiles and laughter lead to wonderful memories with family members, friends and caregivers.  We want Morgan’s Wonderland to be a place where the common element of play creates an atmosphere of inclusion for those with and without disabilities, encouraging everyone to gain a greater understanding of one another.

Morgan’s Wonderland is just like any other theme park except for a culture and environment that assures 100 percent enjoyment by every person who enters through the Welcome Center.  Unfortunately, countless children and adults with special needs do not have access to facilities that enable them to fully enjoy outdoor recreation.  Morgan’s Wonderland has begun to change that.

And now there is a fabulous water park for the enjoyment of all as well. Morgan Hartman’s parents also established a school nearby for people with special needs between the ages of 12 to 24 where they can learn skills that will help them fulfill their potentials, and they are involved with adaptive sports and physical rehabilitation services.

The admission prices to both parks for non-disabled people are very reasonable and military discounts are offered. Morgan’s parks also host live entertainment and special events. May Morgan’s parks enjoy long and successful futures, and may they inspire others around the country and around the world to create similar projects. Fun without barriers, what a beautiful concept!

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MJ Stevenson, AKA Zilla, is best known on the web as Zilla at MareZilla.com. She lives in a woodland shack near a creek, in one of those rural parts of New York State that nobody knows or cares about, with her family and a large pack of guardian companion animals.