Each year, the local VFW joins the National Veterans of the Foreign Wars in conducting contests for students within the school systems, in writing their viewpoints on specific topics.
Craig Valley VFW Post 4491 hosted its annual honor ceremony to give appreciation to these students for their writings; the Voice of Democracy winner was Makenzie Lucas and Patriots Pen was Natalie Fisher.
For the Patriots Pen contest, Fisher wrote, “My Pledge to the Veterans.”
“To our Veterans, I pledge to honor you and your service and sacrifice by doing all that I can to see that our country remains a strong and free nation and that we cherish and honor your sacrifices. As my token of appreciation, I wrote this pledge to show our duties and to show our Veterans that we still care and highly respect them. I give my word of honor that I will help the Veterans in any way possible so that they may live a healthier, safe, and more respected life. We need to stop our tongues and lend our ears to Veterans in need so that they still feel loved, cared, and appreciated. I promise, as I get older, that I will donate, volunteer, and help give out Veteran bonuses on paychecks, health care, and insurance. Knowing that Veterans are warriors and they made enormous sacrifices such as choosing to serve in the wars, leaving their home and families, and serving no matter the cost even after the war was over. They still help and obey our country, and they represent our country, so we need to honor them for all they have done and all they will do. We will always remember the ones who have fallen, they are always in our memory, because they are also Veterans. To help the homeless Veterans we can buy them a meal or drink, put a little money in their pocket, or go the extra mile and offer them a place to stay. I promise that I will encourage friends and family to pray, reflect, and observe the Veterans and their actions as they fought for our freedom. We never need to forget the Veterans especially after serving us and giving us freedom. We need to give them the care that they need. I make that promise and a devotion.”
“Writing this made me feel really proud of myself,” Fisher added. “I feel our military is growing and developing rapidly, making me feel safe.”
Lucas responded to the Voice of Democracy question, “Why is the Veteran Important?”
“According to Merriam Webster dictionary, a Veteran is “a former member of the armed forces”. Realistically, it’s deeper than that. As they say, “Once a soldier, always a soldier”. These valiant men and women put their lives on the line, risking everything for the freedom of our country. For that reason, it breaks my heart to see citizens of this very country talk down to Veterans and even villainize them. America would not be where it is today without Veterans. Without the soldiers from the Revolutionary War, we may still be under English control period without the brave men who fought in the world wars. World Peace may never have been established. Without the Civil War our country may still be divided. Veterans are unreservedly crucial to the safety, freedom, and overall well-being of our country. Without Veterans we would not have the fascinating stories of war that have been passed down. These stories are from remarkable occurrences that Hollywood could never formulate. This adds tremendous credibility to the information of wars we know today, as Veterans experienced these events first hand. It is crucial for children to hear these stories from a young age, so that they will forever remember the sacrifices of American soldiers and know how truly blessed they are to live in the greatest country this world has ever seen, America. Although not all Veterans are deployed in their time of service, we should still acknowledge their work and willingness to serve our country and fight for freedom if needed. The years of training away from friends and family should not go unrecognized. Though many Americans never realized, Veterans give up aspects of their freedom to give us hours. Because the Veteran is so important, organizations such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Homes for our Troops, Canines for Warriors, the Fisher House Foundation, and many more need support and donations. These organizations work endlessly to help Veterans wounded physically or mentally in combat. When soldiers return home from deployment, they are often haunted by the emotional trauma and tragedy experienced in the field. That is what it is advised for American citizens to take civic responsibility and help these organizations thrive in any way possible for the benefit of Veterans. Veterans keep America on its feet. Without the Veteran, our country would no longer stand strong. That is why the Veteran is essential. The veteran is brave, and the veteran is hard working. That is why the Veteran is important.”
“I enter this competition every year and feel that it helps me to have a better understanding of how important our Veterans are and how I can better myself as an American,” Lucas added. “I’ve always loved to write stories and essays and it is an honor to be a part of this competition so I plan on entering for as long as I can!”
Each received a $75 gift from Craig Valley VFW Post 4491 and appreciation from many of the local veterans who attended the ceremony.