Veterans Day Essay Contest Winners

The following essays, written by Lexington students, were provided by the Public Celebrations and Ceremonies Committee.

This essay is by Sophia Zhu, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Diamond Middle School. 

Yes, there has been a veteran in my life, moreover I lived with that veteran. He was my grandpa, Su Qi Tao whom served in the Chinese Civil War.  For a short period of time, I lived with my grandparents in Hefei, China because my parents had to work in Shenzhen, China. This was well before I came to the United States, maybe around the age of five or six.

 I recall him telling me stories about his veteran days while rocking me to sleep in his big, fat comfortable recliner. It smelled like him and his shampoo. Oh, the stories were fascinating and adventurous. Every time it would give me goose bumps.  Of course, I secretly knew that some parts of the story were clearly exaggerated but I didn’t dare tell him because it would’ve taken out the fun in it. Furthermore, I loved the tone of his voice when he told me the stories. Sometimes when he and his fellow soldiers hid behind bushes to dodge bullets from attackers, he would use this low guttural sound that made it seem like we were in the scene. Other times when there is a big bomb explosion or a sudden flight of airplanes overhead, he would hollow out muffled expressions like, “AHHHHHHHH”, “PFTTTTTTTT”, “WOOOOOOOSHHHH” which would always make me jump out of my skin because it was so sudden and unexpected.

I also love the expression on his face when he tells me the stories. One could tell he really missed those moments when he and his fellow soldiers were in combats and enjoying the

poor and harsh lifestyles. At night, they would stay guard and gossip about their families but in the daytime, they were always serious about being a protector of their country. A hero of their country.

My grandpa was a huge influence to me because he taught that one should live life like there is no tomorrow. While he was in the Chinese Civil War, he faced life or death choices every day. Thus, life is more than just living comfortable and relaxed, you have to live in the both extremes of lifestyle in order to live a full life. Only then will you live your life to the fullest extent.


"Our Knights in Shining Armor," by Julianna Winters, an 11-year-old sixth-grader at Diamond Middle Schol.

Today we celebrate the people who have risked their lives to protect us. They have left their homes, their families, and their friends for their country. For our country.  Both of my grandfathers were in the Army. One joined during peacetime, but he still left his home, family, and friends. He was stationed in Georgia for two years. My other grandfather was not originally accepted into the army. His vision was poor and he had flat feet.  Grandpa joined the Army when the US entered World War II and convinced them to let him in. He joined because he wanted to protect you. To protect us. He repaired radars on airplanes in England while bombs were going off all around. Grandpa and two of his brothers, two cousins, and niece joined the military in WWII.

Family at home supported the war effort. Two more brothers were at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy. One of his brothers, a WWI veteran, would stay outside working in the winter at the shipyard. It is very cold, and with the icy chills, it’s well below freezing. He would stay outside repairing the ships and not go inside to warm himself. He said he would get the boats out again as fast as possible so that they could fight the war and his brothers would be able to come home. When the war was over, he moved to Florida to warm up, but he never felt warm again.

Grandpa was part of the Army Signal Corps. He would watch for enemy attack at night, with his rifle ready. Grandpa would make sure the IFF’s (Information Friend or Foe) on the planes were working, and ready the tinsel, which the planes would drop to confuse enemy radar tracking. While working on a ladder at one of the airplanes, he fell and was injured, but wasn’t discouraged. He never complained about anything during the war, not even the food (although many others did). He did mention that the mail was always handed out in alphabetical order, and never reverse alphabetical order. Did I mention that his last name begins with “W”? I think he liked hearing from his loved ones at home.

These motivated people and all other veterans deserve a big thank you for all their courage, hardship, and sacrifice. These people are priceless. These people are America’s National Treasure.


This essay is by Nikki Kim, an 11-year-old seventh-grader at Clarke Middle School.

Everything that is dear to us would not exist, or would have been greatly altered if veterans didn’t risk their lives for the freedom of this country.  War. A simple three-letter word but it

created bloodshed of many nations throughout the world. Not just in world wars, but also in civil wars of each nations. Veterans fought in these terrible wars. And some did not live through it. In doing so, protection was granted to their country and to those they loved. We owe our lives to those that fought to protect the country and many of those who did not survive the wars.

In wars, veterans have to see and live through terrible things that are unavoidable. But they answered the pleas for help. They fought in these wars so we could be safe. They had to face gunfire, poisonous gas… etc. Some sacrificed their lives so we wouldn’t have to. It wasn’t for the government or because it was just the “cool” thing to do; it was for the people of this country. They answered the call so we could be free.

Veteran's Day isn’t just a day to commemorate those who fought in wars valiantly, but it is also a day for us to focus on what they fought for. Freedom. It’s what many people take for granted. But we should cherish this gift. Lives had been taken for the freedom we have.

Every day that we are given a decision to make, whether or not we make the right decision, we should be thankful that we even have the right to make the decision. Some of the choices that we have made, and that we will make in the future is life altering. I am grateful that I live in a country where people have a right to make decisions that may mold their future. I am thankful to those who risked their lives, and to those who lost someone important, someone they loved so that we could have the rights that we do now.

This nation would not be great as it is now, if veterans hadn’t risked their lives for it. They sacrifice their lives for those they love and fight for freedom that is granted to those they protected. Without these veterans some of us wouldn’t be here. We owe it to those veterans who loved this country and protected it with their lives.


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