Students express what veterans mean to them

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2003

When it comes to patriotism, nobody is learning it better than Banfield Elementary students.

At the school's awards assembly Monday morning, representatives from the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary announced that the two fifth grade state winners for this year's essay contest both came from Banfield.

Mayra Medina and Marcus Weis won first and second place in the contest, which asked students to write an essay in under 300 words on the theme "What is a veteran?"

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"It was to promote patriotism and what a veteran is," Auxiliary Chairperson Ruth Collette said. "And what better time to do it?"

Medina said it is important to show respect for veterans.

"They help our community and make the world a better place," Medina said. "When they go into war, they always fight for our country and try to do what is best."

Medina won $25 with her first-place award. She said the essay started off as an assignment, but as she wrote, it became more.

"At first I thought it was homework," she said. "But afterwards, I got working on it better, and I decided I was going to try my best."

Weis, who received $15 for second place, said the theme is important to his family. His father was a submarine missile commander and spent eight years in the navy.

"They do everything they can for the United States, that's why we win so many wars," Weis said. "It's not the weapons they have, it's the people that go into war."

He said American citizens owe a lot to veterans. He said the soldiers' efforts give people peace of mind.

"I think they feel it's nice to know people care," he said.

Ashley Dooley, an eighth grader at Queen of Angels won second place in her age group, but she has not yet received her award.

Matt Merritt can be reached at 434-2214 or by e-mail at