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WATCH: Not a Dry Eye in the House When Marine Surprises Family at Mall for Christmas Family Photo

“This went from the worst Christmas — because it was the first one we wouldn’t all be together — to the best Christmas.”



One of the most difficult emotional challenges of military life for our men and women in uniform is passing the holidays across the country or overseas so far away from loved ones without being permitted holiday leave.

Which is why it is particularly joyful when a service member manages to make it home in time for Christmas…and it’s even better if they can surprise their family!

The Riddleberger family in Greensboro, North Carolina, was sadly expecting to be one child short as their son, Lachlan, a U.S. Marine, was denied leave for Christmas while serving at Camp Pendleton in California.

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According to Liftable, Lachlan’s mom, Jodi, was committed to observing their family’s biggest Christmas tradition: getting a photo taken with Santa.

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Even though Lachlan couldn’t be home in North Carolina, Jodi says she made him promise to get a photo taken with Santa. “I told him that was the only Christmas present I wanted from him,” she said.

Lachlan agreed to her request, but left out one tiny little detail: at the last minute, his request for leave had been approved!

In order to pull off his sweet Christmas surprise for his family, Lachlan needed a man on the inside, so he let his big brother, Addison, in on the plan.

Addison picked Lachlan up from the airport and smuggled him back home, keeping his return under wraps until the next day, when the Riddlebergers had planned to visit the mall for their annual Santa photo.

When the family gathered for the photo, they got the biggest surprise they could ever ask for!

“This went from the worst Christmas — because it was the first one we wouldn’t all be together — to the best Christmas,” Jodi shared with Liftable. “Because Lachlan was home and we would get to celebrate the holiday together.”

“Lachlan’s home,” she said, “and now everything that we are doing is extra special — because we are all together.”

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Craft Beer Customers Leave Unopened Can of Pale Ale on Bar for Fallen Soldiers

The gesture did not go unnoticed.



craft beer

There really isn’t anything more American than craft beer. Before the experiment called “prohibition”, America was home to well over 2,500 breweries, with a vast majority of these businesses being family-operated and neighborhood-focused.  The banning of alcohol in the early 20th century brought this number down to around a half dozen or so companies, nearly all of whom converted their factories to produce medicine or dairy products in order to survive. Now, thanks to the resurgence of craft beer, Americans have their choice of nearly 4,000 smaller breweries to buy their swill from. And this doesn’t include brands like Coors, Miller, or Budweiser, who have all been gobbled up by giant, foreign conglomerates, making them no longer American-owned companies. In Atlanta, Georgia, the undisputed king of craft beer is Sweetwater – a brand usually focused on recreation and leisure. As visitors experience the brewery’s newly renovated taproom over Memorial Day Weekend, something special and spontaneous happened. To that, we simply say “cheers”.

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Total Strangers Gather to Celebrate Life of Korean War Vet on Memorial Day Weekend

America has not forgotten those who sacrificed it all for our freedom.




Amid the barbecues and Budweisers, it can be difficult to temper our Memorial Day celebrations with the true reason for the remembrance. Those of us with a three day weekend are likely gassing up the boat, gathering our grill supplies, and lathering on the sunscreen in anticipation of Memorial Day – a holiday that is far too often relegated to the realm of “hey it’s summer”-style shenanigans. We mustn’t ever forget why we have the day off, however. Memorial Day is truly a day of solemn reflection on those we’ve lost in the line of American military duty – a fact that is all too often overshadowed by these celebrations. But not for the fine people of Ohio, who showed the world what compassion is all about this weekend. A public call for mourners to attend the Ohio funeral of an unaccompanied 90-year-old Korean War veteran Saturday resulted in an overwhelming response. “It being Memorial Day weekend it was the right thing to do to come up and honor his life,” Suzanne Koehne told Fox 19. She attended the funeral in Cincinnati after driving nearly 100 miles to get there from Louisville, Kentucky. The turnout was incredible. An estimated 400 strangers, like Koehne, showed up to pay final respects to Army veteran Hezekiah Perkins whose only family, a daughter, couldn’t make it because of poor health, Fox 19 and other media reported. The gesture is just another reminder of the inherent greatness of the American public, and their reverence for those who sacrificed it all for our freedoms.

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