VFW honors students for writing essays
Editor's note: Tonganoxie High School Jeff DeMaranville took first place in the Tonganoxie Veterans of Foreign Wars' Voice of Democracy essay contest. Here is his essay.
Celebrating our Veterans Service
By Jeff DeMaranville
Where would our nation be without an army? We sure as heck wouldn't be a nation of superpower. There would be no freedom, and no independence because we would have been conquered by another nation. The veterans from the U.S. played a major role in keeping our country's stability. If it weren't for them, and for everything they fought for, we wouldn't have it as good as we do today. For these reasons, and for many more, we should be celebrating the service of our war veterans.
Imagine living in a place where you have to wake up every morning, at a time determined by someone other than yourself, going and doing extreme labor for hours upon end, or until your body couldn't take it anymore. And when you get done working, you come home to your poorly fed, poorly housed, poorly bathed family to see them eating a dinner of frozen waffles with syrup for dessert. And then, when you get done eating, your seven kids go to their Urkle and Power Ranger sleeping bags lying on the dirty living room floor to go to bed. All the while you stay up to wee hours of the morning talking to your wife about how you'll manage to pay your dues to the leader. And then, when you're lying on the floor with your wife, trying to get to sleep, you see explosions and hear the sound of gunshots flying past your house. This is a ghetto war -- not the kind you see in East Bay, but one that you would see in an uncivilized nation, governed by a power-hungry communist who cares more about his mustache than his people.
There would be no president, no congress, no house or senate, not even an army to defend your nation. It's every man for himself in this country of poverty. It's kill, or be killed trying to kill someone else but you get shot in the back and then you die in an attempt to kill. Does either way sound very appealing? Of course not.
We should be proud we don't have to work ourselves to death to make ends meet. We should celebrate, seeing as how our nation's leader isn't some pasty fat man with an unimaginably large mustache and even a monocle. Most everyone in America has a place to go home and sleep, in a nice warm bed, without worrying about being awaken in the middle of the night by gunshots and screams in a foreign language. This is probably what the nation would be like if it weren't for the people who fought the wars for us. We owe them a great deal of gratitude, and we should never forget that what we do have, is much better than we could have. These veterans saved us from a life of work, and frozen waffles. They held our democracy strong and made sure our country stayed the same way. There is no possible way that we would have a life as good as we do today if it weren't for these brave souls-reaching out and stepping over the line to make things right. We owe these men something, they may or may not have asked for it, especially in verbal forms of gratitude, but we definitely owe them. So the next time you're walking down the street, watching a presidential debate, eating fast food, working for double minimum wage, pursuing a hobby of yours, driving a car, sleeping on your bed, or even being privileged enough to wake up in the morning knowing that the day is going to be good, seeing as how your leader doesn't make you walk in a certain fashion, follow a certain agenda, or carry a small planner around to get from place to place, think about why you can do all of this.
I know for a fact that many people don't understand what freedom actually is, or what it even feels like. They are completely ignorant to the fact that they are surrounded in freedom. Freedom is attracted to Americans like bacteria are attracted to any open wound. Americans are addicted to freedom like hobos are addicted to cheap booze. But no one actually realizes this; they go every day without thinking, "hey, I probably wouldn't be able to wear these clothes if I weren't free," or "oh dear, if it weren't for the veterans who fought for my freedom, I would probably be working 12 hour days for food scraps and paint chips." It is our job to give thanks to those who are the reason for our well-being. I can't remember the last time a veteran asked me to give a speech thanking them for making our country free. I can't remember a time at all when I was asked to do something to recognize a veteran simply because they wanted some attention. And I know for a fact, that they are far absent from any upright indecency, by forcing someone to make anyone below them speak for a predetermined amount of time so they could be thanked for something that wasn't asked for, but what they thought was right. Us common folk are the heart and soul of America, and the veterans are the broad and brains who let the pure heart shine through with a series of foreign conflicts and unexpected unnecessary involvement in international events. Let free Americans know that veterans are our reason for stability; why we don't need a crutch to lean on like third-world countries need us for food and money to give to a government to stow away leaving the rest of their citizens to sleep in shacks and small huts. Veterans are like the parents to a civilized nation, governed by equality and diversity altogether in a big, hearty bowl of peace. And there is no way, any one of us free Americans could get up in the morning and be happy if it weren't for the men who saved our country from outside influences, who isolated us from communism and other forms of government not fit for America. Veterans made our nation pure in idea, and in reality. Which is why I tip my hat to these brave individuals.