hMAG was honored to take part in the judging of this year’s Hoboken Veterans Day Essay Contest, in which students from all Hoboken schools, Grades 5-8, were invited to answer the question:
“What does Veterans Day mean to me?”
This year’s winner is Josephine Conlon, a 7th Grader at Hoboken Charter School.
She shared her essay with scores of attendees at the Hoboken Veteran’s Day Commemoration this morning, as Hoboken American Legion Post 107 and local dignitaries gathered at the World War I Memorial in Elysian Park (1001 Hudson Street) to commemorate the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month—signifying the end of “the War to End All Wars.”
We are pleased to share Ms. Conlon’s winning essay with our readers.
Veterans Day isn’t just a day to honor those amazing people who stood up for us in time of need, but it’s also to thank them with all that we have. For years I have grown up thinking about where I live and what makes it so safe and it’s because of those people fighting for us that makes me able to live in such an amazing place.
My dad was Marine. I never got to ask him what that really meant to him. He passed away from cancer when I was two. But that’s ok I guess. His friends always remembered him as a unique person, even to this day. I am told he was very proud of serving his country and being part of the Marines. I also have a great grandfather that was a head medical surgeon at Pearl Harbor. He left the island just before it was bombed and even though he wasn’t fighting he still made a huge impact on people’s lives and that’s really all that counts.
All of those people out there fighting right this second really do deserve to be honored because, even though you can’t see right now, they are working so hard to protect people that they don’t even know. They are risking their lives, and most of all, their family’s hearts. What those soldiers are doing right now means the world to me. Veterans Day honors not only the people that are serving right now in war, but people like my dad and great grandfather that dedicated their lives as well. It also means courage, honor, bravery, and all of these things I admit I sometimes don’t even have.
At times I don’t even have the courage to ask my soccer coach if I can take a break and the soldiers have so much courage to fight the bad and still spread out the good.
I really look up to people who are helping the world become a better place. They show me how I can help—even the smallest things can make a person feel as if they mean something. I don’t want to just say thank you, but I want to show my thanks by making those people overseas see that what they are doing is making a small girl in Hoboken, NJ feel so protected and safe. I want to tell them what they are doing means a whole lot more to me than just essay contest. I wish that I could make a difference in their lives, one at a time, starting with their families, and then their recognition.
So to all those men, women, to my dad, to my great grandfather, we all thank you. You give your lives for us and in return we have showed you that means so much.
Well said, Josephine.