Ryann Terrell Grade 9 Teacher Cliff Stansell Basha High School
There are few people who represent liberty, honor, and sacrifice. Together these qualities make up some of the most selfless people in this world. We thank our veterans who have been protecting everything our country is and everything we have as Americans. But we can never truly understand what these men and women have done for our country until we understand what the words liberty, honor, and sacrifice mean to them.
You are standing on the battlefield in Yorktown, Virginia. You turn to either side and see thousands of men wearing blue and red coats. You are holding your Pennsylvania Rifle, which begins to feel heavier as the minutes press on. You’ve seen your friends and allies wounded in action. Exhausted, you don’t think you can press on, but you remember what this is all for. Liberty is the thought of freedom for all. You force yourself to continue, struggling with every step you take. This is what you want for your family, friends, and for yourself. This is what veterans have fought for, for years, “Liberty and justice for all.” Your M10 tank destroyer has been hit by the Germans and bursts into flames. You order your troops to “Fall back!” You continue to push back the Germans by yourself. Surrounded by six tanks projecting bullets on three sides of you, you continue to fight. You’re wounded and out of ammunition. Not thinking anything of it, you rush back to your company. Denying any medical treatment, you assemble a very successful counterattack. Later that year, you receive the highest merit a servicemember can receive, the Medal of Honor. It is December of 1941. Your wife and daughter accompany you on the front porch. You have decided to “join the fight.” Holding your bags, you begin to say your goodbyes. Your eyes start to burn when your wife gives you an embrace. You can hardly breathe. She is squeezing so tight. She kisses you and says,” Write me every day.” You look down to see your six-year-old daughter’s eyes begin to swell. You pick her up, giving her a squeeze. She says,” Daddy, please don’t go. How can I grow up without you?” You must go. This is what you must sacrifice. When we thank our veterans, we don’t thank them for their service. We thank them for being brave enough to display these qualities even when it seems almost impossible.
Congratulations to all our 2022 essay winners! Join them at the 26th annual Phoenix Veteran’s Day Parade, Friday, November 11th, at 11 a.m. For more information about the parade visit https://honoringamericasveterans.org/2022-phoenix-veterans-day-parade/