Below is an essay written by my 14-year-old niece, Riley Beckwith. She is the eldest child of my brother Patrick's five children. She won an award for this essay when she wrote it several months ago for Veteran's Day. Because I gave up blogging for Lent, I could not post it at the time she won the award. But I promised my brother that I would post it on Memorial Day Weekend, since it is during this time that we honor our fallen veterans.
(Riley is the brunette standing behind her siblings from left to right: Camilla, Sophie, John Paul, and Darby)
An Essay by Riley Beckwith
America’s history is riddled with war, conflict, and violence. It is also filled with bravery, self sacrifice, and loyalty. Both sets of words were experienced first hand by America’s war veterans. These valiant individuals gave up everything to serve this country in its time of need. We should honor these people for doing what was right for this country, and never backing down.
Wars are nasty affairs, and I think most of us know that. Soldiers have to endure hardships many of us would shudder just to think about. Veterans experienced tortures such as hunger, dehydration, and exposure to the elements. Some were even tortured by the enemy for information. They didn’t back down under pressure and pain, and they serve as a wonderful example for how we should act day to day. No matter how much pressure we have to do something wrong, we will most likely never be tortured to do anything. If those veterans could do it, then we should be able to handle much simpler situations with just as much perseverance.
Americans greatly value patriotism because it was what built this country, and as such, it is a quality that most respect. Very few people have as much patriotism and love of this country than our veterans did and still do. They were willing to give up their lives in the name of the United States of America. They should be respected and honored because they not only supported America; they went and fought for it. I couldn’t do that, and I doubt much of the population could. It takes a special kind of person to fight for their country, and veterans should be honored for doing just that.
Veterans did the tasks that nobody else wanted to do. They finished the job that hatred and corruption started. They can tell us what it means to be an American better than anybody else can, because they lived it. If it were not for them and many thousands of other soldiers who did not return home, then we would not be where we are today. Our country is facing hard times yet again, and many are saying the U.S. is no longer a safe haven. Our veterans are there to remind us that America is a country of bravery and equality. Once we remember that they are proud, then we can be proud as well.
(Cross-listed on Southern Appeal)