VFW honors student essay winners

Veterans of Foreign Wars Bear Flag Post 1943 recently announced its 2013 Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay winners. The topic for this year’s Voice of Democracy competition was “Why I’m Optimistic About Our Nation’s Future.”

For the second year in a row, the first-place winner was Sonoma Valley High School senior Delaney Gold-Diamond. Her essay will represent the Sonoma Valley post at the District 16 judging competition. Second place went to senior Magnus Forsythe. Third place went to sophomore Madeline Libbey.

The topic for this year’s middle school-level Patriot’s Pen competition was “What Patriotism Means to Me.”  First place was tied by three eighth-graders – Isabel Eagles from Altimira Middle School, Nichole Hanson from St. Francis Solano and Alexander Nogara from St. Francis Solano. Second place went to eighth-grader Raegan Cordero from St. Francis Solano, and third place went to Kohana Bowman from Altimira Middle School.

Glenda Klaucke, Laurell Meredith, Ed Berger, Jeff Cooke, Wally Breitman and Val Robichaud served as judges. Students will receive their awards at the annual post awards banquet in January.


Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy Competition


“Why I’m Optimistic about America’s Future”


Long before I was born, German Philosopher Freidrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” I was born in 1996, and now I am an old woman. I remember when I was a little girl growing up in the early 2000s and all of the challenges our brave country faced.

We survived acts of terrorism, natural disaster, and have continued to survive into a stronger future. I believe in America’s future because, against all odds, the United States has the strength, the bravery, and the unity to emerge stronger.

Although I was almost too young to remember it, I can still recall one of the most horrific events of the modern era with perfect detail: The September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. On that fateful day, nearly 3,000 innocent American civilians died in an unprecedented attack on our Homeland. But Americans didn’t cower in their homes. I remember learning about our heroic first responders who rushed to put out the fires in New York City and Washington, D.C., fighting to save as many lives as possible. And on May 2, 2011, United States Special Forces tracked down and killed Osama Bin Laden, the man responsible for the attacks. I’m optimistic about America’s future because we will always fight back and pursue justice with unwavering determination.

When I was a little older, my brave country survived one of the most overwhelming natural disasters we have ever encountered: Hurricane Sandy. The Category 3 storm clocked winds at maximum speeds of 115 miles per hour, devastating the eastern seaboard.

New York and New Jersey were hit hard, and left with $68 billion in damage and 286 lives lost. However, our cities and people did not remain waterlogged for long. Volunteer organizations from all over the country joined forces to repair the damage and bring normalcy and recovery to those who lost their homes. Generous Americans from every state donated money to help their fellow citizens. I believe in America’s future because we will always band together in the face of natural disasters

When I was growing up, one of the greatest threats to our country and our world was Global Warming. However, due to the strength of our scientists, our skilled laborers, and spectacular feats of American engineering and ingenuity, we are no longer threatened by climate change. I believe in America’s future because of our inventiveness and perseverance to challenge the impossible.

What does not kill us makes us stronger. When I was younger, the horror of terrorism, and the power of nature did not kill us. We didn’t allow climate change to kill us. Those obstacles, those things that the American people together have overcome, have made us stronger. That is why, even though I am an old woman and may not get to see it, I still believe in a bright future for America.