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These 3 Stories From Veterans Just Gutted Me. The First 2 Were Hard To Watch. The 3rd Is Beautiful.

The Iraq War seemed so far away for so many people that it's easy to forget about the thousands of real human beings who served, fought, and died. These stories, though ... they really bring it home. There's a unique, unsentimental power to each of them. It's hard not to walk away changed. First up: "1st Squad, 3rd Platoon." Lance Cpl. Travis Williams tells the difficult story of a rescue mission with his squad — and the devastating aftermath.

These 3 Stories From Veterans Just Gutted Me. The First 2 Were Hard To Watch. The 3rd Is Beautiful.

“It’s hard, because I feel guilty for being the one guy left, but I also feel a responsibility. I better make sure everybody knows who these guys were, what these guys did.” — Lance Cpl. Travis Williams

“I am most proud of not blowing my head off by now. It’s just a whole lot easier if you’re dead. But that shouldn’t be your tribute to your dead friends. When they’re looking down on you, they don’t want you to be living in the moment that killed them. You made it. You got home. You should honor their memory by living the life that they didn’t get to live.” — Lance Cpl. Travis Williams


Next, Spc. Justin Cliburn tells the lovely and tragic story of a group of Iraqi children he befriended and what it means to truly love someone who doesn't speak your language.

“This was the first time I felt like I loved someone that wasn’t my family member.” — Spc. Justin Cliburn

“I don’t know what came of him. That’s the nature of war, I suppose. But whenever I see any footage from Baghdad, I’m always kind of looking around wondering if he’s in the frame.” — Spc. Justin Cliburn

Finally, Vietnam veteran Allen Hoe recalls a deeply moving conversation he had with a trauma nurse who treated his son shortly before he died. After all the tears I shed watching these, the uplifting ending was so wonderful.

“Now I never have to wonder about those last final moments.” — Allen Hoe

Just beautiful.

Albert Einstein

One of the strangest things about being human is that people of lesser intelligence tend to overestimate how smart they are and people who are highly intelligent tend to underestimate how smart they are.

This is called the Dunning-Kruger effect and it’s proven every time you log onto Facebook and see someone from high school who thinks they know more about vaccines than a doctor.

The interesting thing is that even though people are poor judges of their own smarts, we’ve evolved to be pretty good at judging the intelligence of others.

“Such findings imply that, in order to be adaptive, first impressions of personality or social characteristics should be accurate,” a study published in the journal Intelligence says. “There is accumulating evidence that this is indeed the case—at least to some extent—for traits such as intelligence extraversion, conscientiousness, openness, and narcissism, and even for characteristics such as sexual orientation, political ideology, or antigay prejudice.”

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'Merry Christmas' on YouTube.

The world must have been—mostly—good this year. Because Elton John and Ed Sheeran have teamed up to gift us all with a brand new Christmas single.

The song, aptly named “Merry Christmas,” is a perfect blend of silly and sweet that’s cheery, bright and just a touch bizarre.

Created with the holiday spirit in every way, it has whimsical snowball fights, snow angels (basically all the snow things), festive sweaters, iconic throwbacks and twinkling lights galore. Plus all profits from the tune are dedicated to two charities: the Ed Sheeran Suffolk Music Foundation and the Elton John AIDS Foundation.

I personally don’t know which is more of a highlight: Ed Sheeran channeling his inner-Mariah, performing a faux sexy dance in a leg revealing Santa outfit, or him flying through the air with a giant Frosty the Snowman … who seems to be sporting glasses similar to Elton’s. Are we meant to believe that Elton is the Snowman? This music video even has mystery.
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