Recently, Winfield High School had an essay contest to find out what veterans mean to us. There were a great many fine essays but one stood out above all others.
Lisandra Eller was our winner!
Below, published with her permission is the essay.
American Veterans provide an unparalleled service to our country. They are some of the most diligent, courageous men and women you’ll ever meet, and they risk everything they have; their families, their possessions, and their lives; so that you don’t have to. I believe that it is a great honor to be a veteran, and that we should look at them as our exemplars.
I don’t know what kind of path to follow yet, but what I do know is that I strive to be as important as our U.S. Veterans. I don’t want to necessarily be a soldier, but my goal is to have the reputation of one. I want to serve a great purpose to our society.
Our soldiers gain a great honor once they join the military, but what about their pasts? I’ve never really took the time to think about that. When you see a veteran, typically, your immediate reaction is to be polite. You stand up straight, get off your phone, and offer help. Now, I don’t know about everyone else, but when I see I veteran, I usually say “Thank you for your service”. So, I was thinking, and I realized that we judge veterans based on this one thing they did with their lives. It doesn’t matter how much you know about this person, whether they’re good to their family, or if they’ve had a rough past, you respect them greatly and I think that’s amazing because, suddenly, their pasts don’t matter.
So I’ve come to realize, that while our veterans provided for us, we now provide something for them – respect. Imagine this: It’s 1942, WW2 has just begun and you’ve just been deployed to Germany. You had to leave your two children and wife, who just filed the papers for divorce because she was getting tired of your rage, at home. You’re an abusive alcoholic who can never seem to calm down, unless you’re on the field. 5 months later – You’re on your way back home, excited to see your wife and children, and then you remember. You begin to tear up, knowing that this is it. Your wife is leaving you, and taking your kids with her. You reach shore, and hundreds of people are outside. They’re screaming, jumping, crying with joy. Once you and the other men are off the boat, they play the National Anthem and salute. When it ends you walk down the aisle and bunches of children look up to you and say “Thank you!”, tons of men and women offer to shake your hand in appreciation of your service. 50 years later – It’s 1992, you’re at your granddaughter’s veterans day assembly, and the National Anthem comes on, the crowd stands and salutes, to you. To all of the other men and women standing amongst you. You start to cry as you see these hundreds of people standing in respect for you.
Their service makes the difference.
And so does yours.