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Nelson County junior Ashley Young and Collin Travis, an eighth-grader at Spencer County Middle School, were recently announced as winners in a local VFW essay contest. Their winning entries will now go on to compete at the district level. Winners at the district level will continue on to compete at the state level and have the opportunity to win as much as a $30,000 scholarship. Spencer County’s chapter of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Ladies Auxiliary sponsored the local contest for area middle and high school students. Below are the winning essays:
Voice of Democracy: Service and Sacrifice by America’s Veterans Benefit Today’s Youth by…”
By Ashley Young,
11th grader at Nelson County High School
Service and sacrifice by America’s veterans benefit today’s youth by providing the knowledge of sacrifice and a sense of commitment. November 11 is a day to honor the veterans of America. But when we honor our veteran, does everyone know why? Do the youth understand that one memorable day of the year for the men and women who served our great nation? There is a story of an elderly man that I know and love, my own papaw. I came to understand this past year that he himself is a veteran. I didn’t understand what a veteran really was until I heard his own story. He was a veteran of the Korean War, drafted against his own will, but he served with honor. The key part of his story was that he served with honor. It doesn’t matter about what battles or wars a veteran has or hasn’t fought in, but the fact that they served their country with honor, dignity, strength and courage.
I represent the youth, and what I benefit is a new outlook and respect for the veterans of America, and I know other youth would feel the same if they understood what a veteran really is. A veteran is not just someone who had once fought in a war; a veteran is someone who has served honorably in the military; whether they are alive or have passed away with honor. It is not something they gain over night. A veteran is someone who really dedicated them self to the military.
So what is it about veterans that should benefit us as adolescents? Well, some may not recognize that veterans are people, and they have families. The sacrifices that the heroes of our great nation had to make in order to do their duty bring a whole new aspect on the word veteran. America’s veterans had to leave their own families in a time when we needed them. The veterans of our nation put us, their country, and the people of that country before themselves. A veteran of America was someone who honorably served our country even when they weren’t able to see their children born. A veteran of America is someone who may have been ill at the time, mentally, physically or emotionally, but they still took a stand for our nation. A veteran of America is someone with the ability to do what is right and put their service to the country before their own selves. So, what is it about a veteran? The answer is so very obvious because a veteran is a hero.
The students, adolescents, and overall youth of today gain a sense of respect for the veterans of the past, present and future. The veterans of our great nation don’t even realize how much their own stories help mature today’s youth. When I understand what sacrifices each veteran had to make in order to serve our nation, in order to protect us, I look at my life and how I don’t have it near as bad as others. I am here at my home, and can eat supper with my family when veterans sometimes couldn’t. I am able to wake up at Christmas and go to my grandmother’s house for a big family gathering, when some veterans weren’t able to. I have learned to cherish everything in my life that I have because one day when I join the military myself, I may not get to be there on Christmas, or get to eat dinner with the family, or be there for my mother and father when they are sick, because I have a duty to my country. That is exactly what some of our great veterans of yesterday, of today and of tomorrow have to sacrifice. I know that because of our nation’s veterans, I benefit maturity, discipline, and respect to get me ahead in life and to fight for what I want. I have to understand that life is not easy, and that’s what I have gained from the service and sacrifices of the veterans of America.
As you can better understand, a veteran is not just a word or a title, it is an honor. The youth of today get a better appreciation for someone who is willing to give everything in order to protect them. I have so much respect for the veterans of our great nation, and honor for those veterans who gave all, even their lives, that honor will never die. They will still be honored even though they are no longer with us. All veterans gave some, and some gave all.
Patriot’s Pen: “Why America’s Veterans Should Be Honored”
By Collin Travis, 8th grader at Spencer County Middle School
The United States Armed Forces are the staple in the substantial stack of papers that is America. Our armed forces are the bolt in the cog that drives Americans to succeed. Without our veterans, there would be no stack of papers and no cogs. America’s veterans deserve to be honored because they are an intricate piece of the history of our great nation. It is due to the heroic actions of these men and women that America became and continues to be a world power.
I believe that veterans should be honored based on the sacrifices they have made for our country. Most citizens cannot even begin to imagine what modern conflicts must be like, much less understand the horrors experienced during the wars in the 20th century. Veterans should be entitled to healthcare and housing. This would be the best way to honor their needs, beyond paying tribute to their great deeds toward securing our freedoms and rights.
I feel that veterans should be honored because of what they’ve given for us. Many Americans in the modern world take our great and prestigious freedoms for granted. These freedoms did not come without cost; the dedicated men and women of our armed forces gave up a quantity of their freedoms in order that we can retain ours. This is an extremely honorable deed, and it should not go unnoticed.
The American dream of freedom is the greatest single idea on the face of this earth. Many foreigners come here each year in hopes of acquiring riches, a better life for themselves and their families, and of course, freedom.
Veterans deserve to be revered as the heroes they are. Beginning with the first soldiers of the Revolutionary War to those fighting in the Middle East; these men and women have dedicated their lives to our country, our people, and our freedom. They deserve our respect and to be treated with distinction and honor.