Winning entries in Veterans Day essay writing contest |

Winning entries in Veterans Day essay writing contest

The five winners of the Veteran’s Day essay writing contest, from left or right, include Larry Velasquez, Laykin Godeski, Tegan Costanzo, Cody Hinkley and Janet Elkins (mother of Spc. Ryan Elkins).
Submitted |

Five winners were selected in a local Veterans Day essay writing contest at the Rifle Veteran’s Community Center. The theme for the essay was honoring all who served in times of was and times of peace.

Entries were accepted from six categories of groups: elementary students, middle school students, high school students, employees, family members and elders. Below are the five winning entries by category.

Elementary school

Thank you for serving our country. First, if you did not serve we probably won’t be a free country. If you did not serve we would probably be shot and killed. Second, I like the military. I think it is cool because you saved us. Third, my heroes don’t wear capes, they wear helmets and military clothes. That is why I thank you for serving in the military. That is why I love the military and that is why I thank you for keeping us alive. Again, thank you for serving our country again.

Laykin Godeski

Middle school

Hero. When I was tasked with writing this essay I thought of what hero meant, but not just some old dictionary meaning—what it meant to me.

Heroes have appeared time and time again throughout history. From the militia men who repelled the first attacks at Lexington and Concord to the disciplined Army that fought and won our independence at the Battle of Yorktown.

Then on to Francis Barlow, who had the determination to rise from the rank of Private all the way to General and to be the only one to do so in the Civil War. By doing this he instilled in his men the will to fight and the idea that anything was possible.

On further still to Roosevelt’s Roughriders and the dough boys of World War I, then to the men and women who served in World War II and the Rangers who climbed Pointe du Hoc and aided in the attack on D-Day.

These courageous men and women were willing to make sacrifices to not only keep their own people safe and free, but were willing to fight and even give their lives to free the oppressed.

Moving further and closer to today, I think of the men and women who served during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. From the soldiers fighting in the jungles and in the mountains to the M.A.S.H. units that treated and cared for our men.

Now as we look upon our current conflicts, we see the modern versions of the units and special forces teams that were created long ago. We see the Rangers and the men of the 10th Mountain Division who trekked the mountains of Italy in World War II. We see the Airborne, an elite breed of men. We watch as our Navy stands tall and shows us that we are protected. We see the men and women of the Air Force and we see the Marines, the few, the proud, and the brave.

I also see those of the Wounded Warrior Project that helps our brave soldiers when they return home.

When I started this essay, I thought of the meaning of hero. Heroism is not only defined by brave acts, but it is defined also by the will to lay down your own life for another and to keep others safe. I think the term hero can be used to describe all who have served in times of war and in times of peace. We should honor them by not only paying tribute this Veterans Day and those to come, but to always remember their courageous acts under fire and also during times of peace.

Tegan Costanzo

High school

Nov. 11, 2015 is a day that we should all take part in and remember all of the people who have served in times of war and peace. It’s a day to be thankful for we can look at our loved ones who have served and even look at what these unsung heroes took part in. The day is a time of love, sorrow, and a bit of history as we honor our veterans who served in the times of war and peace.

Most importantly, it is a day to show love to the people we know to show our support. On this day it is even important to not only love to the people we know, but to even love the people we don’t know and most importantly the country they fought for. This love can easily be standing up for the pledge or for the national anthem. What this does is show love and honor to the country and to all that served and are still serving to this day. So when honoring all who have served in times of war and peace, giving love helps that much better.

Now, on a day like this day it is easy to have a feeling of sorrow. The feeling of sorrow is only remembering and honoring those that we have lost from serving in the war. Sorrow is the greatest support we can give to these lost veterans because it is one of the deepest feelings we get as humans. It shows our utmost and greatest support to the veterans and they get that

feeling as well. Now on this day, this feeling does nothing but help honor all who have served in the times of war and in the times of peace.

With this day a little bit of history can be a big factor when honoring this country and honoring the people who fought for this country. For the people who fought in these wars, its best to know what happened in the wars to remember our history of this country. It is best to remember history because it is easy to say that history never goes away. When doing this we can honor our veterans in a way that maybe we couldn’t before because we just didn’t know what they went through at the time. So it is clear that history is an important part in honoring the all who have served in a time of war and a time of peace.

Many feelings, mixed emotions, and thoughts will be present on the day of November 11, 2015. All we can do is come together so we can all love, feel sorrow, and gain knowledge of history to honor all that served in times of war and in times of peace.

Cody Hinkley

Family member/active service member

I write this today in honor of man, of sacrifice and of love. I have seen many good men, I have seen one great man die. I have fought and I have bled for a country that I love and who loves me. I see honor in my comrades, honor in my profession and honor in my duty. My heart has been forged through generations of servitude and I stand today as a servant to my country, which gave me the privilege to fight for something larger than myself, to my fellow soldiers who give me the drive to protect them. To my family, whom it is my honor to have known, served, and been served by. To my Father who is proud of my meager accomplishments, my many faults and my true wish to honor him with the life I lead, the lives I make and the lives I must take. My Father who has more wisdom than I could every strive to attain. To my Mother who never allowed me to wallow in my selfish pity. I humble myself under her knowing gaze and I find warmth, happiness, love and hope in her precious embrace. To my brother and sister, a part of me in each, I am honored to have known such great siblings, my brother, gentle with strength I could only dream of; my sister, her compassion, will and energy are extraordinary, for she is unique. To my friends who have stood by me through troubled times, I will honor you with this sacrifice. I serve freely, and without remorse, honor comes from serving. I am a servant to my God, whether in righteousness or sin, my very breath honors him, for he placed in my life and his creations are an honor unto Him. To every person who has served, in this time, I serve you, to each man his own God, and I pray that God be as perfect and forgiving as my own. Through me, may all humanity be honored for life, simple, perfect, God given life which is the choices we make. I have found the meaning of life, it is willing, unbiased servitude for to be a servant, one can understand what a King is, a servant of the people and the King of Kings is a servant to all people, to all life, and to me, and I am honored.

Spc. Ryan Elkins

U.S. Army, 7th Calvary


Serving in the military is both a duty, honor and a privilege to serve ur great country. When the time comes for us to go, it is the first time for many to leave home. To leave our wives, our children, our Mothers, our Fathers, our Brothers and Sisters, and our lifelong friends.

The first few nights, it is not uncommon to hear these recruits at bed time crying caused by their loneliness. As time goes by, and they are in intense, and demanding training they become hardened and you realize you have made a commitment for your future. Then comes the time to ship out and you are quick to face the real world, a cruel world. You are here to serve your country. Times goes by and and you have followed the orders given to you and you have had a lot of luck bestowed on you, ready to go home to your family that you left behind and to your beloved country that you were willing to give your life for it makes you feel you have done your duty. You come home a different person and ready to take on the world and you are capable of doing whatever life hands you, and you raise your children to be ready to serve your country as you have done if duty calls.

Larry Velasquez

Resident at the Veteran’s Community Living Center in Rifle

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