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Young scribes reflect on sacrifice in Memorial Day writing contest

Winners of the American Legion Auxiliary Memorial Day Essay Contest, with Auxiliary members are, from left, front row, Briana Dowling, Jacob Hinman, Gillian Ranee Nedblake, back row, Pam Collingwood, Betsy Carroll, Suzy Cassidy, Emma Hasselbach. - Courtesy Photo
Winners of the American Legion Auxiliary Memorial Day Essay Contest, with Auxiliary members are, from left, front row, Briana Dowling, Jacob Hinman, Gillian Ranee Nedblake, back row, Pam Collingwood, Betsy Carroll, Suzy Cassidy, Emma Hasselbach.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Memorial Day is more than just another holiday for the dozens of young writers who put pen to paper in the Snoqualmie Valley American Legion Auxiliary’s Memorial Day Writing Contest.

Elementary and middle school age children submitted essays and poems on the theme of “We celebrate Memorial Day because…”

Suzy Cassidy, owner of Chocolate 2 Die 4 in North Bend and an auxuliary member of the American Legion, organized the contest to raise awareness of the significance of Memorial Day.

“A lot of people confuse Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day,” she said. “Veteran’s Day is for all those who served, whereas Memorial Day is specifically for those who died for their country.”

Awards were given in two categories, fourth and fifth grade and seventh and eighth grade.

Cassidy plans to hold the contest for a second year.

First Place

Why We Celebrate Memorial Day

By Gillian Nedblake, Grade 4

We celebrate Memorial Day because many soldiers in combat die and they should be respected. They keep freedom alive, and us. To thank them, we put flowers and flags on their graves every Memorial Day. We have parades, plant or buy red poppies, play “Taps” on the radio at three o’clock in the afternoon, and put flags at half mast to remember what the soldiers have done for us.

Americans set aside a special day to miss school and work for brave soldiers that died fighting for us. We celebrate Memorial Day for the brave soldiers that died in combat.

Second Place

The Day We Call Memorial Day

By Jacob Hinman, Grade 4

Memorial Day is about honoring soldiers who fight for rights. Their souls sparkle day and night.

Every day is Memorial Day. We cry, we hope, we pray for their mothers and fathers. So we sigh, but we know they stand by.

They are kin to serve for our rights. They know what is right so they defend our rights.

At least take a moment and put flowers on a soldiers gravesite, as their souls glow bright.

They fight for our country bravely and honorably. If they did not fight, we would not have rights we have today. At least they stood up to defend our freedom.

They are in a beautiful place now where there is no war, just peace. Now it is time for us to honor them and now it is time for us to serve them, who served us so bravely. We need to stand tall for those who die for your rights and mine. We keep our states glowing as they have died for our states. I give thanks to these men and women who served for my freedom. Thank you!

Third Place

What does Memorial Day mean to you?

By Briana Dowling, Grade 4

What does Memorial Day mean to you? To me, it is a day when we honor the veterans who sacrificed their lives for us to live freely. Memorial Day is a day when we remember and honor the veterans who fought for us.

On Memorial Day, some people go out and put American flags on the graves of the veterans who died. I normally go with my sister’s Girl Scout troop and my own Girl Scout troop to serve the veterans their dinner. I hope everyone remembers the soldiers who sacrificed their own lives for our lives.

Honorable Mention

Memorial Day Means a lot to me

By Daisy Hartman, Grade 4

Memorial Day means a lot to me. From the men and women who fought and died on land, or under the sea, to the thought of how hard it must be to hear that a loved one is dying, and then see everyone crying.

We are thankful for and love those men and women who are so brave. Just the fact that they gave up their life for our country, we should at least put flowers on their grave. They gave so much in the fight, maybe thinking that things were all right. In the daylight and at night, they fought for our fantastic rights.

The last thing that I am going to say is that if God did not bless us with those amazing people who fought for our freedom, our country wouldn’t be where it is today.

Honorable Mention

Memorial Day

By Betsy Carroll, Grade 5

One day a year, we all give a cheer for those fighting for our freedom. They put their life in danger to protect the people of America. Even though many come back, some don’t make it. But the ones who do we call veterans. They come back with a story to tell that gives many hope. Even the ones that don’t make it back are honored. All over the country, we have U.S. Cemeteries where men and women are laid to rest, and by each and every grave is a small but meaningful American flag. So on May 31, 2010, we take off our hats and honor the soldiers who have fallen or who kept marching on to keep America the way it is today... free.

First place

We Celebrate Memorial Day Because We Don’t Have To

By Emma Hasselbach, Grade 7

We choose to celebrate holidays all the year round like Christmas, Valentines, Thanksgiving and now... we choose to celebrate the troops who fought bravely and died, for freedom to choose what we have in mind.

We don’t have to do it and we don’t have to care about our wonderful history, how we came from there. If we had to do it, where would be the fun in honoring something that hasn’t been done? For the freedom to choose is what makes us so great, it’s what they fought for that we celebrate. To fight for and die for and pray for our friends who make the reality and not just a dream. So on the last day of May, we will choose to honor those that have served in the wars years ago in a scarier world. Freedom is to choose whatever we want, and those who choose freedom are all the sweeter because what they do lasts forever in the hearts and the minds of generations to come.

When this day is all over, when it’s said and done, we should choose which is better: to have your own freedom or to use your freedom to help others gain theirs?

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