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VFW honors young writers, community service
• Cole Parker "I Love My Country" Patriot Pen winner:
"I love my country for the men and women who served for our country and who are serving for our country today.
"I love my country for the men and women who helped our country during 9/11, firefighters and policemen were working together to save lives, as they were putting their own lives on the line.
"In the early 1900's, when Hitler started to take over the world, and when we were bombed by the Japanese, is when World War II started. That is also when we got into the war, and we also won that war, that is why our country is safe today and that is why I love my country.
"I also love my country because my sister is in the United States Airforce and my cousin is in the United States Army, my dad was a tank mechanic in the United States Army, he fixed engines and transmissions, and I am very proud of what they do.
"My great-grandpa served in the United States Navy as a boatswains mate on a ship. He was there when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Also, my great-grandmother helped during World War II welding shops for the Navy and helping wounded at Camp White in White City, Oregon.
"My Pa's cousin also fought in the Vietnam War and got shot, and he was awarded a Purple Heart.
"This is why I am proud of my country because my family that served and the people that served with them, the people that are serving today, and for everyone that has died for our safety.
"I am proud of our country because we don't have to ask to go somewhere, we can go across the country without permission, we can have pets, cars, we can be farmers and cowboys, football players and basketball players, but most of all we get to have an education from teachers and coaches.
"This is why I love my country."
• Kyle Hansen "Is There Pride in Serving in Our Military?" Voice of Democracy winner:
"America's military. One of the greatest forces on earth. Devoted to the well being of all humankind through service. It has helped influence the world in several ways from the American Revolution to World War II. It has freed countries from oppressive leaders and has neutralized threats to Americans and mankind. It stands for courage and bravery and everything that makes this country of ours great. It preserves our freedoms and makes sure our children have a safe world to grow up in. This is why I believe that serving in the military is one of the most honorable and courageous things that someone can do. Knowing that those men and women have put their live on the line to preserve my freedom and my family's freedom means the world to me.
"These men and women don't go to war to kill and be immoral. They go so freedom may be preserved in all aspects of everyday life. They are selfless in their actions and aim only to please others. Life can be very hard for the service men and women. The training is intense and the missions can be life threatening. However, they still carry out their duties with pride and courage, knowing that they are miking a positive difference in the world. Aside from these hardships are families that they had to leave behind in order for them to carry out their duties. These families suffer just as much as the soldiers, but stay strong. War is not a place for the faint of heart. It takes all that they have to get through the day. They don't ask any questions, they just serve. They don't ask for recognition for their deeds. They just do it. For America and the world. They are selfless and generous for giving their lives to make ours better. And I believe it is our job to thank them and support them in every aspect of their work.
"War can sometimes be essential for peace. An example of this is 9/11, where so many American citizens lost their lives and their loved ones. It was one of the most horrendous acts of terrorism ever committed against the United States. To prevent another attack, we deployed troops to deal with insurgents that were threatening our country. We did this to neutralize the treat of another attack and to restore the safety we once had. Without our military, I think that our country would have been attacked several more times and hundreds of citizen lives would have been destroyed. The deployed soldiers do their job to preserve freedom in our country, not to creave havoc in others. These men and women should be respected with all our hearts for their sacrifice to keep us safe. Their constant drive to promote freedom and justice knows no bounds and they will move heaven and earth to achieve their goals of a better tomorrow and to ensure the well being of our families, friends and fellow citizens.
"Anyone who truly wants to go to war has never truly been there before. Larry Reeves said this and I believe it is the truth. I also believe that if you ask any soldier, they would agree with this quote. War is a bloody thing, and I think we should be grateful that our military is willing to wage war and die to protect our freedom."
In his award winning essay titled "Why I Love My Country," young Cole Parker wrote, "I love my country for the men and women who served for our country and who are serving for our country today."
The words Parker wrote earned him first place in this year's Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4218 Patriot Pen writing contest.
Parker was one of several people from the community honored during the Post's annual Award Banquet on Wednesday evening at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Corning. Another first place winner recognized was Corning High School sophomore Kyle Hansen for his VFW Voice of Democracy essay, titled "Is There Pride in Serving in Our Military."
"Americas military. One of the greatest forces on earth. Devoted to the well being of all humankind through service," Hansen wrote. "It has helped influence the world in several ways from the American Revolution to World War II. It has freed countries from oppressive leaders and has neutralized threats to Americans and mankind."
During the awards ceremony, VFW member Thad Blanchard presented Parker and Hansen with certificates, along with Patriot Pen winners, Gavin Nye who took second place, and Liza Jensen who earned third place, and in the Voice of Democracy contest, second place winner Jennifer Crane, and Kent Barron who took home third place.
The Patriot Pen contest is for elementary school-aged students and the Voice of Democracy is for high school students.
Also recognized with certificates during the dinner were Teachers of the Year, Linda Fugate and Steve Mitchell from Corning High School, Penny Blanchard of Elkins School, Richfield Elementary School's Cindy Fralin, and Jim Scribner of Capay Elementary School.
A special recognition was presented to Pat Langley of Bell-Carter Olives for donations made to veterans homes, and Boy Scout Chris Hogan from Troop 108 for earning his Eagle Scout.
Earning awards and pins for years of distinguished membership in VFW Post 4218 was Harold Joy for 10 years, Mike Taylor for 15 years, Mark Ramirez and Alfred Sitso for 25 years, Will Dobson and Anthony Kelly for 30 years, Walter Merrifield for 35 years, and John Cooper for 60 years.
Dinner was prepared by the Corning Exchange Club and served by Corning High School students.