Editorial: Listen to a child this holiday

Published 9:00 am Monday, May 25, 2009

Sixth-grader Catie Craft of Albert Lea won first place at Sibley Elementary School in a Veterans of Foreign Wars essay contest. The honor was announced last week. She wrote the following in October:

“Three reasons I have found for honoring veterans are the risks they take, the families they leave and the suffering they endure.

“The first reason veterans should be honored is they risk their lives to save the people of the United States of America. Lucky for them they’re fighting for a great country. We are a country of freedom, rights and faith. We have the opportunity to do anything we set our minds to. Risking one’s life is the ultimate sacrifice.

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“Another reason I admire veterans is for their ability to separate from their families. Sometimes that could take years. An example of a very long separation was John McCain leaving when his daughter was an infant and coming back when she was 6. I can’t imagine having my father gone for that long. Not only do they suffer but their families suffer as well.

“The third reason I found to be worth mentioning is the suffering they go through. Some men or women phyically suffer from the conditions they’re in. Some may suffer injuries that last a lifetime. Another type of suffering is emotional. That means things that happen while at war can affect their life even after the war is over. They might never be able to forget some of the scary things they have seen or experienced.

“Willing to sacrifice your life, lose time with your family and suffer both physically and emotionally, all to protect your country, is why I honor veterans. I am proud to have great people fighting for me. Who knows? Maybe someday there will be no wars, and they will all be in social-studies books. So don’t you want that book to say we honored them? I know I would. Those are some reasons why veterans should be honored.”

Thank you, Catie, and thank you, veterans.