Friday, November 13, 2009

A proper Veterans Day week observance

Braden River Middle School put the exclamation point on local Veterans Day observances this week with their celebration on Friday, Nov. 13.

Each year students complete another large, patriotic ceramic plaque that joins others on a wall of honor. The names of local veterans are inscribed on each new plaque. A highlight was seeing Vietnam vet Robert Somers learning that his name is on the new plaque, courtesy of his grandson,Cody Kaleskas.

"I am very proud of my grandson and all the kids here who put this on," Somers said.

Also, the Korean War Veterans Association annually awards U.S. Savings Bonds to students who submit winning patriotic essays. Winning a $500 bond for the first-place essay was Tayler Shreve. Second place with to Kayla McNulty and third place to Michael Sarna.

Below is Tayler's winning essay:

How Should We Honor Our Vets?
Braden River Middle School

“America, Land of the Brave.” We are indeed the land of the brave; men and women willing to give their life to fight for their country. Our war veterans are amazing and dedicated people and I think they should definitely be honored. I believe we should honor our veterans by sending letters and cards, visiting and spending time with veterans, respecting them and the sacrifices they made for America. Our veterans and troops are fighting for each and every one of us and they should be especially honored.

First, I think we should honor veterans by sending thank you notes and letters to them. I personally think veterans, elders especially, would appreciate people young and old to just say thanks for their hard work and sacrifices. Our veterans fought for us and if we mailed letters, cards, or just simply a note to say thank you and how much their commitment and determination means to us, would show them how much we appreciate them. Just imagine opening a card from a six-year-old boy saying “thank you.” I would just put a smile on your face and make you proud to be an American.

Second, I think visiting the elderly veterans in nursing homes or just in your neighborhood would honor them and show appreciation. If you know a veteran, they love sharing their stories, I know my uncle does. His name is Lewis and he served in Vietnam and he definitely has his share of war stories. I asked Lewis how he thinks we should honor veterans. He told me that he would personally just like to share his stories here and there and to talk to the youth of America. Lewis walks with a limp as his knee was blown apart while hiding in a dirt bunker during combat. But he says he loves being with “youngsters” and making sure we know what we take for granted. I think visiting with our veterans is a good way to honor them.

Lastly, respecting our veterans us a key part of honoring them. Honestly, as a 13-year-old, I know plenty of kids would see a man missing an arm or leg and just laugh. Personally, I would feel ashamed if that was me standing there. Respect means a lot to everyone, especially to someone who really deserves it; and to have fought for our country definitely qualifies, so the least we could do is respect them by acknowledging them by at least giving them a passing glance and just saying thanks. So when you see a veteran remember that song, “R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.” Well, to those veterans it means a lot, so respect them.

To conclude, our beloved country wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for our veterans. Try to send a letter to a veteran, visit a veteran, and just respect them. Trust me, they deserve it.

For more about Friday's observance, see Saturday's Herald.


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