Voice of Democracy Contest 2008
American Falls High School
I still remember standing at a parade as a little kid. I watched as the police cars drove on, their long whining tone announcing the arrival of the column. The mighty draft horses trotted by, nickering as they passed. I stood and clapped and gathered candy, thoroughly enjoying every moment of it. I watched the mayor pass in the old red Corvette. The football team drove by, sitting and cheering from the top of the city fire truck. Then I saw them. Six old men in uniforms walked slowly down the street carrying the symbol of our Country, our Flag. I stood stock still as they passed, frozen in awe of them. They looked so perfect, so flawless, and yet I could see the pain they retained behind their eyes. One of the men turned to me smiling and I could swear I saw a single tear shining on his cheek. My hat came off and my hand flew to my heart as I had been taught, but before this moment I had never really truly thought about the importance of it all. I smiled back to him and watched as they turned a bend in the road. That night, back at home, I decided that I was going to change for the better. I had always done as I was supposed to, say the pledge, salute the flag, that kind of thing, but then, I felt as though I was simply going through the motions without slowing to appreciate the value of what I had been given.
We have all heard their stories, read their names, but have we ever taken a moment to think about the affects they have on our lives? I have never known one of these retired soldiers. Despite this, I can still see the changes they have wrought on my life. Their sacrifice has shaped me, making me who I am today; driving me to cherish the precious freedom I have been given. It is these noble knights that I recall as I watch our Flag being raised, sing our nations anthem, or am asked what I’m grateful for. The selfless giving of these heroes, these veterans, is what gives me hope, and impels me to be a better citizen, a better friend, a better person. Without these, the unsung heroes of days past, nothing in my life would have meaning, freedom would be violated, and this, the greatest nation on earth would cease to stand as a beacon of hope. Without them I would live in a world apart, no dreams, no future, and no hope for change.
I still remember the old man’s face from that day at the parade. I do not know him, not even his name, but as I picture his face I know that I owe him everything. His face lives on in my memory, a symbol of freedom. Even to this day I look on and watch as he passes through the shadows of my memory, forever encouraging, driving me to attain greater heights. Let us honor his and other’s memory through our actions. Let us each remember our silent heroes, those selfless souls who risked all for the benefit of others. Let us never forget the sacrifice given for our benefit. Let us take heed to the words of John F. Kennedy when he advised “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
Sunday, January 25, 2009
So, here it is...Kadyn's speech. Enjoy!
Posted by Sister Savanah Jo Ward at 8:57 PM