HONORING OUR SOLDIERS
June 16, 2014 at 10:05 a.m.
Flag is a symbol of soldiers' valor
Patriotism has a special place in my heart, and it always will. My brother is currently in the Minnesota Army National Guard. He has shared some of his experiences with us from basic training and advanced training. While he has loved it, he has learned he needs to sacrifice time with his family and take time away from his normal life to do what is right for his country, as so many others have done. Soldiers have to say goodbye to their family members for a great amount of time or maybe even a lifetime, and they have to push through that.
I show patriotism by singing the National Anthem at some of the sporting events, and every time I look at the flag, I picture in my head the different battles and struggles that the soldiers have fought for us. That flag is not just red, white and blue but a symbol of what American soldiers have to go through. I give them all the credit in the world that they are willing to sacrifice their whole lives to do what is right, and words can't explain how much I thank them for what they have done. During the parade on the Fourth of July, I think it is proper that the Color Guard is presented by local veterans and is presented first, because it deserves to have that amount of respect and attention toward it.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a tomb of anyone who fell in service of the nation, and who was injured so severely that they couldn't be identified. The Tomb serves as a monument symbolizing all of these individuals who sacrificed everything. It's a horrible thought to know that the remains of someone's beloved family member never made it home. That soldier deserves so much. They should never be forgotten, and neither should any of the other soldiers who have died in war.
Memorial Day is not just another date on the calendar, but a day to recognize and remember those who have died in battle for our country. I am committed to patriotism and to remembrance of those who died in war and it is the least I can do to honor those who have given some or even all to honor their country.
--Emily Rinken, an eighth grader at Stewartville Middle School, read this essay
to the audience at Woodlawn Cemetery during Stewartville's Memorial Day ceremony on Monday, May 26. She is one of four students who were honored for essays they wrote about patriotism. She and the three other students will travel to Washington D.C. on June 18 to place a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.