Morris and Yorkville students chosen as winners in Rezin’s Veterans Day Essay Contest

An eighth-grade student from Immaculate Conception School in Morris and seventh-grade student from Yorkville Middle School were chosen as the winners of State Sen. Sue Rezin’s (R-Morris) Veterans Day Essay Contest.

Essays written by Hannah McGhee (Immaculate Conception) and Katie Melzer (Yorkville Middle School)  were chosen from about 250 essays. The student’s essays are now hanging at the Senate Republicans Veterans Day display in the Statehouse rotunda. Both students will also have the option of shadowing Sen. Rezin in the district for a day or experiencing a day at the Statehouse as a Page for the Day.

This year’s contest was open to middle school students from throughout the 38th Senate District. The contest asked students to write an essay explaining the history of Veterans Day and the importance of celebrating the day each year.

Sen. Rezin stands in front of all the winners of the Veterans Day Essay Contest. Katie Melzer from Yorkville Middle School and Hannah McGhee from Immaculate Conception School in Morris were chosen as the winners from the 38th Senate District.

The essays are below:

Katie Melzer:

The crowd roared with excitement as the floats full of flags passed by. Everyone in town always loves the parade and has a lot of fun seeing all the bright reds, blues, and whites. The crowd goes silent as the national anthem is sung and everyone takes their hand to their hearts and faces the biggest flag at the top of the biggest float. The people all stand in silence as we listen to the melody of the song to celebrate what they call, Veterans Day.

            Every year on the 11th of November, Veterans Day is celebrated. It was made a holiday in 1954, when President Dwight Eisenhower signed the bill. However, in 1968 the congress moved the date to the 4th Monday of October. They did this because the date fell on a weekday and they wanted to give the people a longer weekend to miss their work. After signing it, the Americans got mad because it wasn’t right, so they quickly moved the date back to the 11th in 1978 because it was more significant to the Americans.

            People celebrate Veterans Day to celebrate and honor all the soldiers and people who helped fight for our country. They will have parades and parties with many american flags and treats. Even people who don’t have or know a veteran in their families they have fun at the celebrations. It’s not only during veterans say people show respect for the soldiers, but during the national anthem people place their hands on their hearts and stand.

I have a veteran in my neighborhood, he makes sure everything is safe when something goes wrong. One time we had vandalists in our neighborhood destroying our park and everyone’s mailboxes with a bat. He set up a camera and found out who the kids were. Studies show that almost all veterans put in community service time way more than the average person.

All in all, veterans deserve the day and everyone should celebrate it. Some people should show a bit more respect to them because they don’t know what the soldiers have been through. When they become soldiers they don’t forget a thing. They remember losses and hard work and that sometimes they come back from battle in pieces.


Hannah McGhee:

Yeah! A day off from school and work!” might be the thought of many millennials on Veteran’s, but we need to understand it is so much more than just a vacation day. Veteran’s Day is a celebration, celebrated all throughout our Nation to honor and respect the men and women who have served in the US Military. These men and women are real life superheroes who have fought and died to keep us safe. In my opinion, Veteran’s Day should be everyday. We should not wake up without being thankful for the many Americans serving our country.

            Did you know that veteran’s day goes all the way back to 1919, the end of World War I? Veteran’s day started to celebrate the men who fought against the Central Powers during WWI. Its original name was actually Armistice Day, but Dwight D. Eisenhower changed in 1954. Also, the USA isn’t the only country to have this holiday. Canada has Remembrance Day on the same day, and Britain has Remembrance Sunday on the second Sunday of November. I believe all countries honor and respect their soldiers, but Veteran’s Day is special because it serves all veterans, living or dead, serving or retired, and during war or during peacetime.

            You’ve heard stories or maybe even seen veterans who have lost limbs, their sanity, or even their lives to war, and sometimes you may wonder, why did they do it? Why would they knowly sacrifice their lives for the people of this country, people they don’t even know? I will tell you why they do it; they do it because they love their country and are proud to be Americans. We need to be proud of our veterans, and that is why Veteran’s day is so important! I, for one, am proud of our veterans, and I hope you are, too. This Veteran’s day, don’t forget the soldiers who fight for you every day. Thank you veterans!

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