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What is a Veteran?

In Mrs. Claar's English classes, students were asked to write an essay, "How Should We Honor America's Veterans?"

The following are quotes from some selected students' essays:


Veterans are people who served in the armed forces in war or in peace. These are the people who we should thank for the privilege that we enjoy of living in a free country today. This privilege should never be taken for granted. Many people fought to preserve our freedom; some died for it. Billy P


My grandfather served time in WWII from 1941-1945. He has told me many heroic stories. When I think of these stories, I often ask myself how a human being could handle something so traumatic. These men did, and they came out on top.

In conclusion, I would just like to ask that we give more of an effort to honor our veterans. Just talking to these people, I see how scared they are of being forgotten. If we just remember, and teach every generation about these heroes, then we will have accomplished a lot. Some are gone but they should never be forgotten. Michele M


A veteran to me, is a hero. He or she is a person who risks his life to save others. We, as citizens, need to show respect for them. Just one day out of the year we honor our veterans. We should honor them everyday. I think when we say the pledge of Allegiance, we should not just think about the flag, but about the veterans. Makenzie M


Veterans - how should we honor them? Veterans did a great deal for our country and in my opinion they are not honored enough. Many of our Americans were killed in past wars. People fought in wars many times without volunteering - being chosen from a list. Families were broken apart because of war. Lives were lost for our freedom, and I think we need to honor these lives and those veterans alive today. We have a holiday and plaques for veterans, but really, is this enough? Stephanie M


My state should hold a program where veterans get together and talk to younger adults about the wars. Students throughout my state should each have a pen pal, like at my school. We should have more parades to honor veterans. My state should have veterans from all different wars come to schools, and help kids understand better. People throughout my country should have a special pledge just for the veterans. They should make coins, with some sort of symbol that honors veterans. Students should go to veterans homes and help take care of the veterans for a week or two. I really respect veterans and I would do anything to honor them. Danielle H


Many people, believe it or not, stand up each morning with their hands over their hearts and pledge to our nation's flag, but do not know why they do it. It is because of our veterans that our flag waves high in the air with pride and beauty. Why can we dress as we like and go about our business freely? Maybe if we understood what the flag stands for and what veterans did to have it still stand today, we would have a different idea about what the pledge means....So parents ask your children on Veterans Day, if they know that it is not just a day off from school and work. It's a day when thousands of people died for the freedom of our country. Grant G


Veterans are true Patriots to me. They helped us through the wars. People died for our country. I think they are brave for going against such odds, proud of the message they have sent for our freedom. They are heroic for the way they helped friends and other soldiers. They were dedicated to the job that they were sent out to do. They are truly a role-model for the world. People don't realize the triumph, the pain, and the pressure our Veterans went through. Don't let them become the long forgotten ghosts in the misty battlefield of the past. My school will be visiting the Veterans who fought for our freedom, the patriots of the past. Their voices still ring in our heart and ears! The fear was undeniable. There was no time to express their true feelings for the safety of themselves and others. How terribly difficult it would have been....All the time being hungry, exhausted and fearful yet their goal was "Freedom For Our Fellow Americans." Burke B


Through the years, Veterans have watched as our country slowly forgot their sacrifices. The government tolerates them, simply because they have to and not because they want to. The people no longer honor these Veterans. For example, when school was left our for Veterans Day on November 11th, how many of us went to the parade to honor them? My great Uncle who is a WWII veteran says that no one even puts their flag out on Veterans Day anymore. It is time we bring back the honor to our Veterans with town parades, museums and memorials. It is time to have Veterans come into our schools and tell us about their war experiences, so that we know what it was really like.One way we are honoring them is by bringing a replica of The Wall here to our town. Rachel L


At my school we interviewed teachers that were veterans. I asked my person if they felt that Americans in general appreciate the job they did. He responded "No, it would be impossible to appreciate the sacrifices some people made for their country." We are also participating in "Mission Butterfly". We hope it will link us to the veterans. As we enter the new millennium I hope we can continue to cherish and honor these people, and remember they shaped America. Justin P


Veterans, the forgotten heroes, deserve more. We need to respect them for what they did for us. So, we salute you veterans, regardless of how or where you served, you are great, and I am very thankful for what you did for us, the American people. Jeremy W

My grandfather was in WWII as a guard. He was my childhood hero. But everything good has to end sometime, right? Then in 1992 he died from cancer. My mom was devastated and my grandma also. I didn't understand though. I guess I was too young to understand. But when I got older, I realized how he fought for my mom and her two sisters. That's where I got the respect ethic for all veterans, men and women. Matt S


I have an uncle who is a veteran and he was in Desert Storm, Desert Shield and the Liberation of Quate. He drove a recovery tank and was an expert shooter. He said that after the Vietnam War when the people came back they were spit on and called names. He also said that the younger generation has no respect. They don't respect their freedom or the people who died and risked their lives for their freedom. We don't realize how much we take for granted. We could still show respect for our patriots or military heroes of war. James G


Even though we celebrate Veterans Day its not nearly enough. These people deserve the best of anything that we as American citizens can provide for them. I mean most of those people fought for months at a time. Some even fought for years. They did this knowing that at any given moment they could die. Yeah, sure we named a day in their honor, but you should truly ask yourself "Is a day going to compare to those months or even years on the battle field"? Autumn M


Being a seventh grader, my idea of veterans is essential. I, as an American, believe that today's people don't honor the veterans quite enough. I think the people who truly believe about what the veterans did should combine together and think of ways the veterans and the communities could get together. As I interviewed different people to as, them the question "What can we do so the veterans know we are still thinking of them?" almost all of their replies were, "I think we should invent activities so the veterans can get out of the veteran homes once in awhile." I think this would do them alot of good. Jessica D


Students in local schools could help out at the Veteran Homes throughout the U.S. Teachers in schools should teach more about the sacrifices the veterans have made for us because the veterans risked and lost their lives to defend our lives and country. This would allow the younger generation, which hasn't lived through or experienced the war times. Other ways we can honor and show veterans our respect is by going to parades and cheering when they walk by. Groups of students even could place flags and flowers on memorials of our fallen veterans, just not one day, but throughout the year. Henry C


A way to honor veterans is through projects, like "Mission Butterfly". This project is going on to get veterans and children working together. This project lifts many hearts and children learn. Ian C