An essay written by Michael Hapeshis Thompson, a 13-year-old Blaker Kinser Junior High School student, won a $200 prize from the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter in Ceres.
Michael, a sea cadet with the Princeton Division of Naval Sea Cadets, read the essay at a recent meeting.
The essay was titled, "Why I Appreciate Vets." The text is as follows:
"Veterans serve this country so our freedoms stay free. Some vets gave all; some gave most that's why it makes me proud when see a veteran because I know they gave all that could be given.
"Another reason I'm proud to see a vet because veterans unselfishly protect the ideals that the founding fathers used as guide lines to make this nation strong. Vets are selfless, often forgotten, heroes of our nation.
"Veterans are selfless heroes to our nation; they join to proudly serve this country because they want. Vets have improper healthcare in fact the veteran affairs health care waiting list is sometimes one to two years long. Also veterans pay was very small about $1,500 a month, when they served. A lot of veterans are homeless, in fact 9 percent of homeless people are vets. Veterans do not serve because of the benefits, but simply because they want to and that is one reason I am proud of vets.
"Veterans are often forgotten. For example, the Korean War it is referred to the ‘forgotten war' and all of its vets where forgotten also. Another perfect example is Vietnam. Soldiers risked their lives in that war and when they came back they were mistreated, called names like ‘baby killers,' but they still did what they had to do. Most vets even to today are forgotten. People take for granted what veterans provide and yet veterans still proudly served this nation and that is why I feel pride I vets.
"Without a doubt veterans are our heroes because they fight for our country proudly and serve to the best of their ability. They proudly protect our freedoms and liberty. Veterans are people that we should look up to because they risk their lives for other people. Most people take advantage of the freedoms our vets provide which because of that most people don't even acknowledge vets. This is why veterans are without a doubt heroes of our nation.
"I appreciate veterans because they fight for our freedoms. Vets are given small acknowledgment so that makes me proud of my country and its vets because they are serving us for the simple fact of they love doing it and they feel it's their duty. Vets are selfless, often forgotten, heroes of our nation."