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VFW honors Red Bay students with awards for essays

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5184 hosted its annual Veterans Celebration Sunday afternoon after the Russellville Veterans Day Parade.

The post honored two Red Bay students with awards for essays they wrote as part of the VFW’s “Voice of Democracy” and “Patriot’s Pen” programs. The programs provide high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves with a Democratic and patriotic-themed essay.

The Voice of Democracy audio-essay program sees more than 40,000 9th-12th grade students enter to win their share of $2.1 million in scholarships and incentives awarded through the program. The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship. Post 5184’s 2018 recipient for the Voice of Democracy was Red Bay High School student Chase Allen. His essay was titled American History: A Hope for Our Future.

The VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest is open to sixth-eighth grade students. The national first-place winner receives $5,000 and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. Red Bay eighth-grader Emma Nethery is this year’s Patriot’s Pen honoree. Her essay was titled America’s Gift to My Generation.

Both essays are printed below. Congratulations to both students!

American History: A Hope for Our Future

By Chase Allen

There is a saying that goes, “To get where you are going, you have to know where you have been.” The people of our country can find truth in this statement. There have been tremendous leaders and role models that have set the standard for us. It is our responsibility and privilege as Americans to learn from those men and women who have gone before us.

George Washington, our country’s first President and well-known war veteran, is a prime example of how our past can help build our future. He was one of the most respected heroes of the American Revolution. He displayed bravery and integrity, and those characteristics earned him the title of America’s first President.

Being the first President of the United States, George Washington was the founder of many American traditions that we still honor today, such as ending the Presidential oath with “so help me God.” George Washington can be quoted as saying, “I hope I shall possess firmness and virtue enough to maintain what I consider the most enviable of all titles, the character of an honest man.” These are definitely words to build a future on.

“Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.” This is a very fitting quote by another American hero and veteran, Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower served in World War II as an Army Five Star General. He was also the 34th President of the United States. Eisenhower had a great love for his country and is still esteemed by scholars to be one of America’s greatest presidents.

He was elected to a second term for President in 1956 based on these qualities quoted by his voters: “His sincerity, his integrity and sense of duty, his virtue as a family man, his religious devotion, and his sheer likeableness.”

These same qualities are valued today and will shape a country we can have hope in.

Another inspirational American veteran we can learn from is Senator John McCain. Like his father and grandfather before him, John McCain was a graduate of the Naval Academy. He volunteered for combat duty in Vietnam, where he flew planes on bombing missions.

During one of his air missions, the Vietnamese shot down his plane. McCain survived the crash with a broken leg and two broken arms. However, the Vietnamese held him captive as a prisoner of war for more than five years, where he was repeatedly beaten and tortured.

In 1973, after the Vietnam War has ended, he and other American POWs were released to go home. After coming home to the United States, McCain decided to enter into politics and has served his country in the House of Representatives, Senate and has even run for President.

John McCain once said, “Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.” This is how we can build our future; by learning history from people like John McCain.

America is the greatest country in the world. It is the land of the free and the home of the brave. We can remember and learn from the people before us that sacrificed so much for their country, sometimes, even their own lives.

The hope of America’s future is that we will continue to be the great country that was founded in 1776. The only way to keep that hope alive is to learn from our history.

God Bless America!

America’s Gift to My Generation

By Emma Nethery

America has given many gifts to my generation. Our nation’s strong and efficient military and the Constitution have given us protection and freedom. There are better chances and opportunities. For example, we have better education and more research, and there is better technology now to help with natural disasters and other issues.

Our nation’s military has given people a chance to better their lives. It gives men and women a chance to gain skills, have a purpose in life, protect our country and ensure freedom for our nation. Colleges offer Reserve Officer’s Training Corp (ROTC), which gives college-age men and women a chance to gain education and training. It also gives a scholarship to help pay for college.

The U.S. Constitution has given us many freedoms. For example, it has given us the right to bear arms, freedom of speech, petition, press, religion and many others. This allows us many opportunities in this country. One opportunity is that we have the right to bear arms, which means we can own guns to protect ourselves.

Our country has great schools and job opportunities. Thanks to this, we have opportunities to discover new things like the cure for global warming or for new cures to troubling illnesses. Maybe one day, since we have these opportunities, we can find the cure for cancer and other serious and deadly diseases. We are also able to learn how our government works, which can help improve it and maybe we can even run it one day.

Our technology is better, and thanks to this we can make Americans safer. For example, the recent hurricanes could have caused a lot more deaths than they did, but thanks to the weather services, thousands of lives were saved. Using technology, they got the news of the hurricane out and issued an evaluation. The advancement of our technology helps us learn and research things that we didn’t know and makes us more aware of our surroundings.

America has given my generation many great opportunities. It is our choice how we use them. I hope we use these to better ourselves and our country.

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