Second Place Winner
Serving with Honor essay contest
By Maria Chappell, Cortez High School, Phoenix
“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore that the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion, a home and a country should leave us no more!” In response to the question raised by the author of the renowned “Star-Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key, every American can proudly say, “Here.” Here in the land of independence, we have our life, liberty, and our happiness. Here in this land of freedom, we have our religion, speech and our hearts. Her in this land of the brave, we have the honor of military service. Many are called, many serve, and sadly, many die for this country. These deaths hit our country hard because every soldier is family. I, personally, know the tremendous impact service in the military has on a family. My heart swells with pride because I can stand and say, “I’m related to a veteran!”
Why would a person give up a perfectly comfortable life at home in the US to go and fight? That is simply because someone has to. Every veteran knows that when the ability and opportunity to serve, it is all but necessary. How can someone able to serve ask someone else to risk his life and still be a proud American? All veterans have a least that one claim to being a hero. Just by serving, they saved a life. This is an honor that comes with battle. This honor is one that runs through my own veins. Through both my mother and father, my family tree has roots in every single war since World War II, and can even sprout as far back as the Civil War and the Mormon Battalion movement. One grandfather was a B-24 co-pilot in WWII and the other was in the unit who flew the first combat helicopters used during the Korean War. Two of my uncles were in the Vietnam War. My own father was in Desert Storm and my brother-in-law is currently on active duty, stationed in Germany. I know of military service, as do those meritorious men.
One thing each of those men in my family have in common with every other veteran in America is the pure fact they served because they knew they had to. Whether there was a war or not, there has always been servicemen. Citizens, just like us, have the proclivity for service and stepped up and stood tall so everyone, not just a son, a daughter, or a spouse, could remain unchained and liberated. These people, whether Air Force, Navy, Army, or Marine, they are my heroes. The bravery and valor they show each single day is astounding.
The veteran is the epitome of honor. They serve with their head held high, their patriotic pride swelling in their hearts in a way deserving approbation. No matter the length or purpose of their term, they are all Americans. Because of what they give Uncle Sam and us, we are, and will continue to be free.