Honoring Our Veterans in Merritt Island Florida

Minuteman statue and cannon at Veterans Memorial Park
Merritt Island Veterans’ Memorial Park
Veterans Memorial with military jeep in the background
Monuments and Motorcars

The Importance of Honoring Our Veterans

Honoring our veterans is a tradition that many people do on certain holidays at specific times of the year. But many feel it’s important to include paying homage to those who have served into our routines throughout the year. The start of a new year is a good time to consider these goals and how we can fulfill them. Places like Merritt Island’s Veterans Memorial Park provide an excellent opportunity to relax and reflect on the contribution that our veterans have made in preserving the freedoms of our homeland and those of our allies. Whenever you plan a visit to a park, you may want to consider visiting a veterans’ park such as this one. Consequently, the experience is likely to be very rewarding.

As former President Ronald Reagan has said, “Our hearts and thoughts turn to all the Nation’s veterans. Let us reflect on the great achievements of those whose sacrifices preserved our freedom and our way of life. With a spirit of pride and gratitude, let us recall their heroic accomplishments and thank them for their unselfish devotion to duty.” (reaganlibrary.gov). And specifically to the Marines he remarked, “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in this world. The Marines don’t have that problem” (marines.mil). Indeed, the difference veterans have made for our country and in our lives is immense.

Eagle memorial statue with military helicopter in the background
The Eagle and the Minuteman

Strength and Freedom

Many moving monuments dedicated to our veterans who served in wars from the American Revolutionary War in 1776 to the present are thoughtfully displayed throughout the park. This monument to those who served in the Revolutionary War (pictured above) is “Dedicated to all our patriot ancestors who sacrificed their lives, families and fortunes to secure our freedom.” The monument is topped by the statue of a bald eagle, and a Minuteman is inscribed on the front.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the American Bald Eagle has been the national bird since 1782. Former President John F. Kennedy voiced his appreciation for this choice: “The Founding Fathers made an appropriate choice when they selected the bald eagle as the emblem of the nation. The fierce beauty and proud independence of this great bird aptly symbolizes the strength and freedom of America” [va.gov (PDF)]. Given the strength, courage, and dedication to preserving our freedom that our veterans exhibit, the eagle is indeed a fitting symbol for our country and for such a monument.

U.S. army tank
Tactical Tanks

Tanks for the Memories

The Merritt Island Veterans Park is home to an impressive collection of historic military air and land vehicles. Dwight D. Eisenhower has said, “Guns and tanks and planes are nothing unless there is a solid spirit, a solid heart, and great productiveness behind it” (eisenhowerlibrary.gov). While this is undeniably true, the equipment used by the military has played a vital role in our military history. The park satisfies the nostalgia surrounding this critical equipment that both serves and protects our armed forces.

Many historic vehicles are punctuated around the park, including this M41 Walker Bulldog American light tank (pictured above). The placard informs the visitor of the illustrious history of this vehicle. This impressive tank replaced the M24 Chaffee Tank used in WWII and was used for nine years by South Vietnam. It was produced between 1951-1954 in Cleveland, Ohio by the Cadillac Motor Car Division of General Motors. Further, it houses a crew of four soldiers. These tanks have served worldwide in 30 countries, including engaging T-34s during the Bay of Pigs. All of the air and land vehicles displayed throughout the park give a detailed history that is both educational and fascinating.

U.S. Navy aircraft
Awesome Aircraft

Flying for Freedom

In addition to land vehicles, the park houses multiple intriguing aircraft. This A-7E Corsair II Carrier-Based Attack Bomber (pictured above) flew at a maximum speed of 693 miles per hour at sea level. Six wing stations provided a combined maximum load of up to 10,000 lb. of bombs, rockets, or AGMs (air-to-ground). Its tactical range was 490 miles. The crew consisted of a pilot only, and 535 of these aircraft were produced.

The U.S. Navy describes the distinguished history of the A-7E Corsair II: “The A-7E flew its first combat missions over Vietnam in May 1970… Following the end of the Vietnam War, the A-7E remained a mainstay on carrier flight decks, called into combat action throughout the 1980s in Grenada, Lebanon, Libya, and Panama. By the time Navy carriers launched their first strikes into Iraq and Kuwait as part of Operation Desert Storm in January 1991, only two A-7E squadrons remained… It marked the final deployment of the venerable Corsair II, whose beginning and end came in the face of enemy fire.” (history.navy.mil).

Memorial to the dogs who have served our military
Dutiful Dogs

Canine Companions

Dogs are perhaps not only “man’s best friend,” but also the military’s best friend… According to the Department of Defense, “These are highly skilled warriors, trained by the best to serve alongside them… about 1,600 military working dogs [currently] help keep the nation safe” (defense.gov). This statue is “Dedicated to war dogs and their handlers, past, present, & future, your deeds and sacrifices will always be remembered.”

The front placard reads, “During our nation’s military history, ten of thousands of war dogs served during WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Bosnia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. They continue to serve around the world. American war dogs have a legendary history of bravery and courage on foreign fields of battle, saving countless American lives.” Interestingly, according to the U.S. Army, “Every military working dog is an NCO – in tradition at least. Some say the custom was to prevent handlers from mistreating their dogs; hence, a dog is always one rank higher than its handler” (army.mil).

U.S. Army jeep
Reliable Transportation

Planning Your Visit

In conclusion, Veterans’ Memorial Center in Merritt Island, Florida is free to visitors, including the park, museum, and library. Operating hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00am to 4:00pm and Sunday noon to 4:00pm (these hours may change over time or during holidays – please confirm before visiting). Not in the area? There are other parks like this throughout the country. So perhaps there is one near you.

Entrance to the museum at Veterans Memorial Park with military helicopter
Veterans’ Memorial Center Museum

At Global Dimensions, honoring our veterans is of paramount importance to us. Our CEO, Chris Newton, has a distinguished career as a seasoned Chief Intelligence Analyst in the U.S. Army. Many other veterans are currently working at Global Dimensions as well. Read about some of our veteran employees in our blog post “Pride in Our Veterans at Global Dimensions” here. To all who have served, you have our unending gratitude.

by Heather Longfellow

Honoring Military Moms

Mother of soldier praying
Reflecting on absence

No Military Without Moms

Active duty military members and veterans display tremendous courage, dedication, patriotism, and mental and physical fortitude. But there are unsung heroes residing in their shadows that I want to honor today: moms of military members. Their service and sacrifice to their children in the military, their military, and their country merits remembering and honoring. There are no soldiers, airmen, or sailors – and no military – without them.

The Profound Challenges of Military Moms

As a mother of two sets of twins, I can certainly attest to the challenges faced by mothers – all mothers. Raising children the right way so that they evolve and grow into well-rounded, responsible adults who lead lives of integrity is perhaps the hardest, yet most rewarding duty a person can have. And as the mother of a U.S. Army soldier, I can attest to the unique and particularly profound challenges of being a military mom. This role is one that is constantly testing your perseverance, and one that is ever-reminding you of what’s truly most important in life – to never take your loved ones for granted.

A New Chapter

When my son wanted to discuss his interest in joining the Army, I had conflicted feelings. It was a lot to sort through in my mind. I had so many burning questions. Would he stay safe? Would he be happy? How would he adjust to this new life? How would I adjust? Would he survive Boot Camp? Above all of these feelings and considerations, however, I was proud of him because of what it means to serve your country in the military. I was proud of his desire to serve alongside other men and women who exemplify the traits of courage, dedication, and selflessness that are required to serve in the military.

Never Asked for “Easy”

My son followed his ambition, and I encouraged him to do what was right for him. Fast forward a few years, and my son is enjoying a successful career in the Army. Turns out, it really was the right choice for him. It has certainly not been easy, but given the traits that lead someone to join the military in the first place, is someone like that really ever seeking “easy?” My son has no regrets and has gained very valuable career and life experience that will serve his future well.

Serving with Honor

Being the mother of a military member often means missing out on holidays and family celebrations with your son(s) or daughter(s). It can mean rarely seeing the children you raised day-in and day-out for so long. Most challenging of all, it can mean worry and anxiety over your child’s safety and/or well-being – particularly in times of military engagement overseas. This may be especially true if your son(s) or daughter(s) is not able, for security or communication restraint reasons, to divulge the details of what they are doing or where they are. It takes great strength and perseverance to be the mom of someone serving in the military. Moms must be strong for their sons and daughters of whom they are so proud. And those who serve honor the moms who raised them by serving their country with honor.

All Grown Up Now

As any mother knows, they grow up so fast… This may be more true than ever when your son or daughter joins the military. Your child is fully embracing adulthood, with the weight of responsibility, discipline, work ethic, and commitment that come from experience in the military. Despite that, they’ll always be our babies, regardless of their chronological age. It will always be tough to watch them embark on this exciting journey alone. When we do see them, we cherish that time more than we ever could have envisioned. The impact of the distance and concerns moms have, which can be amplified when their child is in the military, are profoundly felt.

Seeking Support

Are you the mom of a military member (or members) who is wondering where to turn for support? “Today’s Military” offers a wealth of links to support resources for Moms with children serving in different branches of the military here. You are there for your children, now let others in the military community be there for you. Whether your child is in the Army, National Guard, Marines, Air Force, Navy, or Coast Guard, you will find tools to help you there.

Active-Duty Moms in the Military

I want to mention another group of moms who deserve recognition. They are the moms currently serving in the military who must endure so much time separated from their families in service to their country. Their sacrifice is tremendous, and we owe them an enormous debt of gratitude. To all of you moms that are serving in the military, thank you so much for your service and sacrifice.

We are always mindful of the sacrifice active-duty military members and veterans have made in service to our great country and people. If you’d like to read more about some of the veterans working at Global Dimensions, you can check out our blog post here.

by Heather Longfellow

Impactful International Business Internships

Globe on desk with person on laptop in the background
Global Dimensions does business worldwide

Adding Value to the Organization

Global Dimensions offers meaningful international business internships. As an intern at Global Dimensions for eight months and counting, I can confidently say that my time here has been among my most impactful and formative internship experiences. Over the course of my time here, I’ve had the opportunity to work on an interesting and diverse range of projects. These projects covered most steps of the international business process. I worked through the initial stages of researching foreign markets and regulations to every step of the establishment process. I have even had the opportunity to use my foreign language skills to find business opportunities and translate documents. More importantly, I have never felt that my time was being wasted on busywork. I feel that I am adding value to the company’s mission and goals with every assignment.

A True Team Member

Global Dimensions offers opportunities to learn more about different parts of the industry and contribute my knowledge and experience to company operations. But it also offers a unique work environment. Interns for many companies are subject to micromanagement and fluff. This is not the case at Global Dimensions. Furthermore, communication is no-frills and straightforward. My supervisor Jim is respectful of my time. He trusts me to get work done on a flexible schedule and without constant supervision. At the same time, all of the staff I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with are extremely helpful and understanding. I am kept updated on the company’s international operations. And this is the case even when the matter doesn’t directly concern me. In other words, I’m treated as a full team member with a stake in the company’s success despite only interning part-time.

Find International Business Internships

The wide range of meaningful assignments and the hands-off and respectful work environment are what make Global Dimensions a unique place to work. I would highly recommend an internship here for anyone interested in international business and taking a leading role in growing a company overseas. For more information about internships at Global Dimensions, visit their Careers page, or view openings on Handshake.

By Maximilian Dunat

International Business Internship Experience

Tidy and organized desk in office
A great work environment

My Favorite Internship

Of the many jobs and internships I’ve had, my time at Global Dimensions has far and away been my favorite. From meeting new people to learning new skills to having new experiences, this internship has been a diverse learning experience. At Global Dimensions I’ve never felt like anything less than a valued member of the team. In my experience, that isn’t all that common with an internship.

Amazing Training Opportunities

Last August I had the chance to attend a two-day training on foreign military sales. It was an incredible opportunity since most companies would not pay for an intern to get such training, and I learned a lot. I’ve also gained experience in a range of government processes and been able to apply that knowledge on a variety of projects. As an international affairs major, the international aspects of this internship have been particularly interesting and applicable. Through my research about a variety of countries Global Dimensions has looked at for doing business I have gained knowledge that I have used in my classes and will use at future jobs. I have also had the chance to do more in depth research about countries that are in my area of interest. This has been particularly helpful because it overlaps with topics in my classes.

Professional and Personal Balance

One of my favorite aspects of this internship is the leeway I have when it comes to doing my work. My supervisor trusts me to get things done on my own time. He encourages me to prioritize my schoolwork over assignments that are not time sensitive. This is extremely helpful in creating a good work-life-school balance and, in my opinion, the optimal way to do an internship. At the same time, I feel like I am held to a high standard of work. Since beginning this internship, the quality of my work has improved because of feedback from my supervisor.

International Business Internship

Overall, working at Global Dimensions has been a very positive experience. I don’t feel like I’ve been treated any differently than other employees because I am an intern, and everyone has been welcoming and helpful. I have learned a lot in a variety of topics, and it is knowledge that I will take with me going forward because it is applicable in the field I am pursuing. If you are interested in pursuing a rewarding internship with Global Dimensions, visit their Careers page. They also post open internships on Handshake.

By Thora Gibbs

Living in the Nation’s Capital

Washington DC Capitol building with U.S, flag
The Capitol Building

Moving to D.C.

Living in the Nation’s Capital is an adventure. It all started when I moved to Washington D.C. in August, 2018 for school. Before that, I had visited D.C. a handful of times, mostly on school trips. On those school trips we visited the museums, the White House, and the Capitol. It was Normal fifth grade stuff. And while the monuments and museums are certainly part of the experience of living in D.C., they fade into the background of everyday life when you become a resident here.

What were incredibly special places for me as a fifth grader became places where I need to fight my way through hordes of tourists and school field trip groups to get to ultimate frisbee practice. Because the history of the United States is so prevalent and visible here, it is easy to take it for granted.

The Normalization of Politics

At least three times a week my commute takes me past the iconic Lincoln Memorial. My university ultimate frisbee team practices on the National Mall next to the renowned Reflecting Pool. A few weeks ago, HBO shut down part of Virginia Avenue near my apartment because they were filming a show about Watergate. And within a few blocks of my apartment are the Embassies of Egypt, Argentina, Spain, Tajikistan, Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, and Qatar. The International Monetary Fund and the State Department are a five-minute walk. I and many people I know have interned in some capacity for the Federal Government. Election night watch parties are a common occurrence, even in off years.

Breathing Rarified Air

I lived across the street from Kamala Harris before she was elected Vice President. I saw Elizabeth Warren jogging on the Mall with her dog. This became a normal part of life. Waiting for the Presidential motorcade to pass is more noteworthy for being an annoyance than for possibly getting to see Joe Biden. D.C. is a different city for the people who live here. Politicians are no longer mythical figures on T.V. They are your neighbors.

Catch a Museum

After living amidst the buzz, the Federal Government stops being exciting. So, we have to seek other sources of entertainment. There are many Smithsonian museums devoid of throngs of fifth graders. The Renwick Gallery is my favorite. It has a gallery of rotating exhibits featuring work from younger, less established artists. Another good one is the Hirshhorn. It can get crowded, but you generally won’t see any field trip groups while you are there. The Hirshhorn holds the permanent collection of Joseph Hirshhorn in addition to rotating modern art exhibits. All the Smithsonian museums are completely free to access. They have been free since 1846. However, some museums, like the African American History Museum, require you to reserve a free ticket.

D.C. Sports

It could be argued Washington sports teams have a reputation for being bad, at least recently… Sometimes the Nationals’ World Series win in 2019 and Capitals’ Stanley Cup win in 2018 seem like distant memories. Fortunately, this is reflected in D.C. team ticket prices. Wizards, Nationals, and D.C. United tickets are all pretty cheap. In addition, most of the stadiums are super easy to get to and in great neighborhoods. Capital One Arena, where the Wizards and Capitals play, is in the middle of Chinatown, and Nat’s Park and Audi Field are in Navy Yard. Chinatown has a bunch of great Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants, such as Pho 88, as well as bars like Jackpot. On game days Navy Yard comes alive with fans flocking to places like Dacha Beer Garden and Swizzler. What used to be one of the rougher parts of town, the Navy Yard is now one of the hottest areas in D.C. with great restaurants and high-end condos.

A Night Out

Adams Morgan has been the place for young counterculture people since before my parents lived in D.C. twenty-five years ago. It is still host to many great bars and restaurants. Colombia Station has live Jazz music and Jumbo Slice Pizza has slices bigger than your head. All the bars turn into clubs after 10 p.m., so plan your trip accordingly. NOMA and the H St. corridor are home to some great restaurants like The Big Board, but walking around the neighborhood is not as pleasant at night because H St. can get pretty busy.

Brunch on the Waterfront

After a night of partying, walking around Georgetown is a great way to clear your head. If you are hungry, the many brunch spots, like Call Your Mother, are a great way to wait in line for a breakfast sandwich that is totally worth the thirty-minute wait. If you order online ahead of time you can reduce the wait time. You can take your sandwich to the Georgetown Waterfront where people spread out blankets and watch the activity on the Potomac River while listening to music or reading. Alternatively, you can walk through the residential part of Georgetown where there are beautiful old houses you can fantasize about owning.

Living in the Nation’s Capital

One of my favorite memories of D.C. is of walking through Georgetown. It was the morning of a warm fall day but the air hadn’t quite heated up yet. The leaves had already changed color and were beginning to fall off the trees in a fiery-shaded flurry. It had rained the night before, so everything smelled like wet leaves. Most people hadn’t started their day yet and it was quiet. I remember standing in the brilliant sun, as a breeze shook some dewy leaves from a tree across the street, just thinking. Sometimes our Nation’s Capital is at its best when you retreat from the craziness of the tourist crowds and political stage and experience D.C.’s less-traveled neighborhoods. If you are visiting, I hope you’ll take some time to explore my D.C.

Ready to slow down from the excitement of the city? Check out our blog post on Smoky Mountains National Park here!

by Ben Forest

*Note: this article is not sponsored by any of the businesses mentioned.

An Internship Experience to Remember

Interns meeting at a table with their supervisor
The start of a fulfilling career

The Internship Experience

I have had a variety of internship experiences throughout college. At my very first internship, I worked 20 hours every week, I was surrounded by a group of renowned researchers, and I learned how to refill massive coffee dispensers. In other words, I was not entirely happy with my experience. As a student and an intern, I discovered there is no point working in the same office as people well-versed in the field if there is no opportunity to learn from them. Fortunately, my internship experiences since then have improved substantially. I was able to work on projects that actually piqued my interest, and found people that challenged me to improve. Of all my internship opportunities, my time at Global Dimensions certainly takes the cake. I could not be more thrilled to work with such an incredible and welcoming team! 

Exposure to Different Projects

Interns at Global Dimensions can expect great variety in the types of tasks they are assigned. It has been five full months since I came onboard, and it would take me a minute to recall all of the different projects I have worked on since. Firstly, I have created presentations. Secondly, I have learned the ins and outs of the Workable recruiting platform. Thirdly, I have conducted phone screens, and created a company survey. These are just to name a few of the things I have done or learned how to do while at Global D. The variety encourages me to keep producing my best work and learn something new every day.

For a past internship, I conducted monotonous data collection and data entry. It got old after a while… The urge to count down the hours until the end of the shift was a familiar occurrence. I am very happy to say that I have never felt that way while interning at Global D. I appreciate the constant possibility of new assignments and different kinds of projects from week-to-week. The variety encourages a certain level of enthusiasm that underscores the time spent clocked in. Not only that, the different responsibilities greatly enhance my professional development. And they instill transferable skills that are useful now and will continue to be in the long run.

Respect: A Rare Commodity in the Internship World

Another key part of the internship experience at Global D. is respect. This vital commodity is often, unfortunately, hard to come by in an internship environment. As team members who may be newer to the industry than their colleagues, many interns experience a certain level of condescension from superiors. It can be a bit disorienting because that attitude breeds discouragement, and can cause interns to question themselves and their abilities.

At Global D., it is absolutely the opposite. Everyone on the recruiting team has always excelled at making me feel like a valued member of the group. Even in individual meetings and conversation, there is never the sense of feeling like a less valuable contributor. Interns’ ideas and input are always appreciated and that appreciation is clearly expressed. In addition, it is not simply assumed that you know your contribution matters. Jeff, my supervisor, and the rest have always gone above and beyond to communicate the extent of their appreciation. It is a very unique feeling as an intern, and I am beyond grateful for it. Having a great work community and work relationships is essential to putting out one’s best work, and I look forward to meetings as opportunities to hear from everyone.

Keeping it Real When No One Else Does

The team at Global D. also promotes a culture of keeping it real: there is no need for beating around the bush, being indirect or unclear, or using unnecessary flowery language. That applies to interns too. There is no need to show-off or to try to win over anyone by stepping on anyone else’s toes. We are honest with each other about what we want, our thoughts, our needs, and our visions- and that cultivates strength. The culture of honesty has resulted in genuine bonds and strong regard for coworkers.

The company culture at Global D. is certainly unique in all the best ways possible, and interning with the Operations team is an amazing opportunity. Anyone who joins the internship team can expect to be surrounded by (virtually) a great group of professionals who are always rooting for everyone’s growth and development. I could not be more thrilled to intern here and learn so much from the work and from my colleagues, especially in my last year of college. 

Internship experiences are cherished parts of the college experience. They are even more special when you actually have a fun time interning with people who have really taken the time to get to know you. I would highly recommend prospective interns to visit Global D.’s Careers page and monitor for internship postings on Handshake!

by Ayesha Khan

The Internship Experience and Workplace Culture

Interns meeting with their supervisor in a boardroom
Ready to Work

Internships: How to Choose?

Interns are often faced with a difficult decision. Every workplace describes itself as an exciting and dynamic place to work. The challenge in choosing a job or internship is in finding a place that isn’t lying. What does it mean to be exciting and dynamic? How do you tell if an employer’s work culture embodies these qualities? And what does working in an exciting and dynamic environment do for you? 

Working at Global Dimensions

It was my first day of work at Global Dimensions. I participated in a zoom meeting where I was introduced to the Program Managers, or “PMs.” Even through the computer screen, I could feel the community, as people joked around with each other before the meeting began. After I was introduced to the team, the PMs eagerly returned to their regular schedule and set about their day with gusto. Thirty minutes after the end of the first meeting, I had a zoom meeting with the recruiting team. Everyone there was so happy to meet me. I thought they were going to try to sell me something. 

While I had a lot of meetings in my first few weeks, in the six months I have been interning at Global Dimensions, I have worked on countless projects with just about every department in the company. Global Dimensions is a small enough company that they benefit from interns doing important work, but big enough that there is always something interesting and novel to do.

Internships and Company Branding

When every company brands itself the same way, it can be difficult to tell who is telling the truth and who is hiding behind a veil of corporate jargon. One of the best ways to evaluate a potential job is to meet the person offering the job. They are who you’ll be working for. So your job experience is going to be very dependent on their demeanor as a boss. Establishing the genuineness of the people also cements the credibility of the branding message and mission statement.

Joining the Team

At Global Dimensions, the final step in the application process, before I was hired, was an interview with the guy who would become boss. He immediately set the tone of the interview as a friendly conversation that was still respectful and professional. He was extremely open and honest about their hiring process, and he made himself very accessible. 

Since that interview, the work environment at Global Dimensions has been cordial, competent, and considerate. My boss has continued to be genuine and approachable. The company makes it clear that they listen to and care about employee feedback, and everyone does their best to make sure everyone else’s voices are heard.

Getting the Most out of Your Internship Experience

Work is an experience. Like all experiences, the value of work comes from the journey. There are many ways to acquire money, but a job that feels fulfilling can make the other parts of your life better. If you are able to bring the happiness from your job to the rest of your life, you won’t just be improving your life, but the lives of everyone around you as well. There is also some evidence, as explained by Frontiers in Psychology (frontiersin.org), that dynamic workplaces lead to better relationships with your boss.


At Global Dimensions, there is always something exciting happening. People are happy to see you, and you are happy to see them. In effect, you feel listened to, respected, and valued. You are encouraged to offer your opinion and share your ideas. You genuinely feel part of a team. If you are interested in applying for an internship at Global Dimensions, you can find our job postings here on our website and here on Handshake. 

by Ben Forest

Celebrating America in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Historic colonial water wheel at Cades Cove
Cades Cove Water Wheel

The Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is undeniably one of the most cherished National Parks in the United States. According to the National Park Service, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park receives more visitors than any other National Park in the country. And this is a particularly impressive feat considering there are 59 National Parks in the system.

In this picturesque Park you will discover many natural wonders, including sweeping vistas, majestic mountains, crystal-clear waters, and wondrous wildlife. The Park straddles the states of Tennessee and North Carolina in the southeastern United States, and spans more than 800 square miles of natural backdrops that bewilder.

Practicing Patriotism in the Park

Visiting our National Parks is an act of patriotism. And Smoky Mountains National Park is a great place to celebrate our country’s beauty and bounty. Here we can reflect on the country we cherish, while surrounded by one of the great reasons why. As Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children.” Our National Parks are one of our country’s greatest treasures, and, thankfully, one we can pass on from generation to generation.

Smoky mountains bathed in morning mist
Typical foggy mountain morning

A Free-for-All

Significantly, Smoky Mountains National Park is one of the only National Parks that remains completely free to visitors, and we have the State of Tennessee to thank for that. The States of Tennessee and North Carolina cooperatively constructed Newfound Gap Road, which runs through the park. They later donated the road to the federal government to be a part of the National Park. As a stipulation to this donation, Tennessee included a deed requirement that “no toll or license fee shall ever be imposed…” as a way to assure their State’s residents would continue to have access to efficient transportation through the area. Presently, everyone has free admission.

Take the Slow Road

On the downside of free admission, the park tends to be very crowded, especially during peak season. But consider the traffic an opportunity to slow down, enjoy the scenery, and meditate on how amazing it is that we can all share in this breathtaking spectacle together! In this fast-paced world, it’s not every day we can stop and smell the pine trees. Occasionally we need to decompress. Amid the peace of the Park, this is possible.

Historic colonial cabin of John Oliver, from 1822
John Oliver Cabin – 1822

Being Steeped in History

The National Park Service explains here that, “One of the best collections of log buildings in the Eastern United States [is here]. Over 90 historic structures – houses, barns, outbuildings, churches, schools, and grist mills – have been preserved or rehabilitated in the park.” (nps.gov) These charming yet rustic structures give a good glimpse of what life was like in the 1800s in the rural South. Not surprisingly, many of these historic cabins and other buildings in the park are registered with the National Register of Historic Places. When you freely explore them inside and out, you can imagine a life in a distant time.

Woman hiking on a forested hiking trail
Hiking heaven

Hit the Hiking Trails

For the energetically-inclined there are an array of hiking trails available. No matter what your preferred difficulty level, there’s a trail here to suit you. They range from short to long, and from easy to challenging. You can plan ahead, as hiking options are listed on the National Park Service’s Smoky Mountains website here. Once on-site, hiking trail maps are conveniently available at the Welcome Center.

Exploring on foot surrounds you with remarkable waterfalls, streaming creeks, and dense forests hosting an encyclopedic variety of trees, many of which are inaccessible by car. A hike here stimulates all of the senses… The spectacular views of the mountains, soothing sounds of bubbling brooks and trees rustling in the wind, plus the pristine smell of pine… there’s truly a feast for the senses to indulge in here.

Want to commemorate the memories of your hike? For $1 you can purchase a book to log your miles. Those who’ve hiked 100 miles or more can share their mileage booklet with the Visitor Center to receive a mileage pin and be immortalized in their “Hike the Smokies” record book.

Giant black bear
Grin and bear it

Black Bears and Other Wildlife

Observing the fascinating antics of the local wildlife is one of the greatest perks of a visit to Smoky Mountains National Park. The Park is most well-known for its black bear population. When you see a log jam of cars parked illegally along the road and no scenic overlook, you can safely assume it’s a makeshift wildlife viewing stop. And if people are looking up into the trees, your first thought might be that they’re bird-watching. But, instead, they are likely viewing black bears: surprisingly highly capable climbers! The National Park Service suggests on their website here that there are approximately 1,500 black bears who call the Park home. Deer and other wildlife are also abundant in the park. Your next furry friend might be around the next bend…


With 384 miles of road, there’s plenty of opportunity to get off the beaten path here. Driving is certainly the most efficient way to explore the many historic buildings in the park and enjoy the scenery in two different states. Yet patience is still advised, however. As the most-visited park in the country, the roads and parking areas can get pretty crowded. So you may not be able to make every stop, or may need to repeat your tracks more than once if you don’t want to miss a thing. Savor every minute of it! Auto tour maps are available at the Park’s information center, to help you navigate your way to all of the historic sites, hiking trails, scenic overlooks, facilities, and more.

Cozy Camping

If your idea of a great night’s sleep is a night under the stars breathing in the pristine, pine-scented air, you may want to consider staying in one of the Park’s campsites. Indeed, a variety of options are available depending on your tolerance level for “roughing it.” For the truly adventurous, there are back-country campsites that can only be reached via hiking several miles. Front-country campsites are accessible by car and offer facilities with modern plumbing. Campsites for groups, and others that are able to accommodate horses, are also available should they better suit your needs.


The Great Smoky Mountains are named for the puffy plumes of mist that float freely among their plentiful peaks. Bask in the mist, and the beauty and vitality of our great nation that this charming Park exemplifies. This Park is free, but the scenery is priceless! To find out more about Great Smoky Mountains National Park, you can visit their official website here. If you want to read more from us, check out our last blog post here.

Author: Heather Anne Longfellow

Pride In Our Veterans at Global Dimensions

Army soldiers at sunset
We thank all veterans for their service, today and every day!

Honoring our veterans

On this Veterans Day we’d like to highlight one of our Global Dimensions warriors, Command Sergeant Major (US Army retired) Joe Lawson. CSM Lawson served as an Intelligence Analyst for over 27 years, having deployed to Operation Southern Watch, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, New Dawn, as well as many others.

Our veteran employee Joe with his wife

What does this Veterans Day mean to Joe?

“To me I feel that we should be thankful every day for what GOD has given us and follow His rule to love one another always, but on Veterans Day we can do more and go one step further. On Veterans Day we should make it a point to seek out Veterans, shake their hands and say THANK YOU from the bottom of our heart. The Veteran does not ask for this, but he or she deserves this. The Veteran either was told to serve (drafted) or decided to serve (volunteered for a variety reasons) and performed the mission (job) that was placed in front of him or her. Less than 1% of the population will ever understand what this felt like. “

“The sacrifice of a Veteran is something that a price can’t be put on and our freedom is a result of the sacrifices every Veteran has made. We should also remember to thank the Veteran’s family for supporting them along the way. The family makes a huge sacrifice along with the Veteran. Thinking back to why Veterans Day was established, to celebrate the end of World War 1, to me every Veterans Day is a day I can celebrate our Veterans and their families for all the sacrifices they have made for me and my family. I know that without the Veterans in our communities we would have few or no freedoms for our children and grandchildren to enjoy. I wish you all a happy Veterans Day, now find a Veteran and say THANK YOU!”

We value our veterans

At Global Dimensions, we are proud of our efforts to employ veterans. Our President/CEO of the company, Chris Newton, continues to serve with over 34 years of Active Duty and US Army Reserve time. You can read more about Chris here. Nearly our entire senior staff are veterans. From all of us, we’d like to thank you for your service and wish you the best this Veterans Day.