By Robert Liam Kelley, Hampton Academy, Grade 8
Atlantic News, Friday, November 17, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Atlantic News]
As we gather here today to celebrate and remember the brave men and women who have fought for the freedoms we all enjoy, I am reminded of the words that an unknown author once said: "Freedom is never free."
Our freedom has been paid for many times over by the courage and sacrifices made by our war Veterans. Some of these brave men and women are with us here today, while others have given their lives to protect our country so that we could be free.
The Veterans cannot and should not be forgotten. We celebrate those who are with us today and honor those who are not. Veteran's Day is a day of remembrance, honoring and rejoicing those brave troops that we as a free nation vow not to forget.
What do you think of when you hear the words, Veterans Day? Do you think of parades of celebration? Do you think of flags waving in the air as a sign of our nation's freedom? Or do you think of it only as a day off from school? Veterans Day is all of this. But Veterans Day is so much more.
Perhaps the best way to describe what Veterans Day means to me, and to all of us, is to take a closer look at the letters that make up the word VETERANS. Each letter stands for a certain quality or a certain symbol that applies to all men and women that answer the call to duty to defend our freedom.
"V" for valor. Our soldiers have shown all of us what bravery means when they march off to war.
"E" for enthusiasm. Each soldier enthusiastically answers the call for duty to defend our nation's freedom.
"T" for trust. We put our faith and trust in all of our armed forces to travel to foreign lands to defend our nation.
"E" for envision. All our soldiers envision that their sacrifices will not be in vain, but will be remembered by those they fought to protect.
"R" for righteousness. Our men in women in uniform understand that they must do what is right even if it involves great personal sacrifice.
"A" stands for always ready. The armed forces always stand ready for any situation.
"N" represents our nation. The United States of America is the home of the free and the brave. All of us sitting here today are the free, but a few among us are the brave. They are our Veterans.
Finally we end with the letter "S" for salute. We as a free nation salute you.
So you see, Veterans Day is a very special day. It is a day worthy of celebration and remembrance by all of us, who at times may take for granted the sacrifices made by so many to safeguard the freedoms that makes the United States of America the greatest nation on earth.
In the words of Elmer Davis, "This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave." Our Veterans have shown us that this nation is the home of the brave. We thank you for your service, dedication, and commitment to our country on this Veterans Day.