It is an annual event to honor our veterans, both past and present, who put their lives on the line so that we, as Americans, can lead the life we want with freedom and the choice of happiness. In the greater Windham area, veterans are honored every year with a Veterans Day Ceremony hosted by the Windham’s Veterans of Foreign War (VFW).
|Essay winners: Brianna Johnson, Lillia Freeman and |
Isabella Johnson with VFW Commander Willie Goodman
What is included in the annual event are announcements of winners to an essay contest written by local students as well as an award of a local teacher who supports veterans by educating their students on the lives of those who have served in the military.
There are two essay competitions; The Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy. Both needed to include the theme, “What makes America Great.” The Patriot’s Pen competition is open to middle school students, including home schoolers, in grades six to eight in the Windham area who are required to write a 300 to 400-word essay. The winners for this year were:
Second runner up: Isabella Johnson of Windham Christian Academy who won a $100 cash award.
Winner: Lillia Freeman of Windham Christian Academy who won $150 cash award and will go on to the district competitions.
The Voice of Democracy competition is open to the high school students, grades nine through twelve, include those home schooled, in the Windham area. Students are to write and record a three to five-minute essay (on an audio CD).
The winner for this year was Brianna Johnson of Windham Christian Academy. She also won a $150 cash price and will go on to the district competitions.
Emily Stokes, sixth grade teacher at Windham Middle School won the Teacher of the Year.
The event also included guest speaker retired Navy Seal Commander Mike Wisecup who started SEALs for Sunshine to raise awareness of what Camp Sunshine can offer to military families with children facing life threatening diseases. Guest musicians were the Windham Chamber Singers. Boy Scout Troup 805 assisted the VFW with the event and refreshment preparations.
Below is an excerpt from Brianna Johnson’s winning essay:
“Two syllables. Six letters. One word. A revolution is like a body, spiraling, forming, surging in unison, with one brain. But bodies are not all air, they have substance, they are made up of many small, immensely important, cells. People are the cells of revolution; it lacks purpose without people to push it along and yearn for it. Since there will always be people there will always be revolution. A scientist who finds a new vaccine, a child learns to walk, a program is started to feed the hungry, a student graduates college, a new discovery in medicine allows the deaf to hear, someone speaks against a norm, a soldier saves another despite the barrage of terror around them, someone stands alone on a stage with hands shaking but with a will to speak. A revolution is within the eyes of the beholder. In an army or alone, quiet or loud, long or short. Each individual person begins their own revolution, many, daily, but never ceasing.
Nine syllables. Twenty-seven letters. Six words. This is what makes America great. People, and their individual views and determination in their own revolutions. None are ever too little, ever too big, all pushing us as a people to be, in its best sense, great. Or should I say it will always be, in its best sense, America.”