This week, we have chosen to use our editorial space to publish Veterans Day essays by two Cassville High School students. These essays were selected as the best among CHS composition students. The authors received the opportunity to read their works during the district's annual Veterans Day assembly that was held in the CHS gymnasium on Nov. 9.
By Ali Hanson
What is bravery? Most people would say that bravery is the fearlessness and firm nature that overwhelms a person when encountering a difficult task. A veteran would say that bravery is the unconditional love for one's country and the motivation to defend each and every one of us. They would even argue that the word brave in itself is an understatement when it comes to the essential qualities of a soldier; it takes courage, pride and heroism.
What is sacrifice? Most people would say that sacrifice is merely giving up one thing to obtain something else of greater value. To a veteran, sacrifice is leaving behind friends, family and the comfort of home to go to a foreign land, unsure of what lies ahead. Veterans would say that sacrifice is the willingness to protect complete strangers with everything they have. They would say that sacrifice is a feeling in the pit of their stomach that motivates them so that at the end of the journey they can return safely to their loved ones.
What is freedom? Most people would say that freedom is the right to think, speak and act without restraint. To a veteran, freedom is God's will being fulfilled. It is the precious outcome that is graciously rewarded after the hard work of many generations. They would say that freedom is the ultimate incentive that is received after many years of devotion to one's country. They would say that freedom is more than being free.
These basic terms might not mean much to you and me, but to a veteran, they mean much more than we could ever imagine. Veterans have an all-around greater respect for everything they are given. They have seen the world from an entirely different perspective that contributes to their true appreciation and grateful attitude.
Finally, what is a veteran? A veteran is not only an American citizen, but also an American hero. A veteran puts every single ounce of heart and soul into everything he or she does. Not many people understand the degree of respect and honor they deserve. It is not easy to comprehend the life-altering experiences veterans have witnessed, but these experiences often alter and shape them into some of the most influential people. Treating veterans and soldiers with respect is the simplest way to thank them for the immensely brave things they do, not only for our country, but for us as well.
By Wil LeCompte
A veteran deserves the highest amount of respect, not because of the men they kill or the bullets they have taken. It is for what they fought. These heroes did not serve because service is fun or glamorous, but because they believe in freedoms and the people of the United States of America. The qualities it takes to make a decision like fighting for one's country cannot be attained; they are embedded in the DNA of heroes.
Out of all the qualities veterans possess, their unselfishness resonates loudly. This quality can easily be seen when veterans willingly put their lives on the line. By itself this service is inspiring, but the idea that these men and women do this without being offered a reward is almost unimaginable. Thus, as fellow community members, we should convey our deepest appreciation, but this goes farther than simply saying a kind word.
As John F. Kennedy once said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." This quote is especially true when we talk about veterans, because we should be taking full advantage of the freedoms that our veterans secure every day.
The next time we read a newspaper or watch the news, we should remember that heroes have fought for this freedom. While these qualities might sound simple, these are not things to take for granted. Veterans put themselves in danger for our most basic freedoms. When you think of veterans, therefore, do not simply thank a veteran with your words. Utilize the freedoms you are offered. This can be done by voicing your opinion, reading a newspaper or something as simple as voting because true appreciation for our veterans does not end with a thank you.