Cameron Millholland, a seventh grader at Dawson County Middle School, was chosen as the overall winner of an essay contest sponsored by the Veterans Affairs of Dawson County. Students were asked to describe the meaning of Veterans Day. Veterans Affairs President Pam Hamalainen surprised Millholland at school Monday morning with the news he had won the contest, which also includes passes to Uncle Shucks Corn Maze and dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse. He will also participate in this year's Veterans Day parade and celebration on Nov. 11. Millholland's essay on his father's military service was chosen over hundreds of entries from Dawson County students. Individual school winners were: Marley Hamby, Robinson Elementary School; Ethan Winborn, Black's Mill Elementary School; Samantha Phelps, Dawson County Middle School; Bridgett Yother, Riverview Middle School; and Miranda DeLay, Dawson County High School. Below is Millholland's Essay.
The meaning of Veterans Day is powerful. It is a day that we show respect toward the men and women who risk their lives to keep us free.
Veterans Day is very emotional for me because my father serves as a Major in the Marines. He is leaving in January to go back to Iraq for his third time.
It is very hard to have your family go to war. You don't know if you will ever see them again. You think about the little girls and boys who won't see their mom or dad anymore. It is very sad.
I think back to all the moments and memories that me and my dad had together. I have tapes and videos of me and my dad playing with a ball in the backyard when I was about three. I get heavyhearted when I watch the videos and wonder if I will get to see him.
My little brother who is two might not get to see my dad ever again. My dad won't get to see him grow up.
I try to stay positive though. Others families are having to go through this rough time. Family members lay in the desert in tents alone while we lay in air-conditioned houses. They lay there praying that one day they will be back there with their family.
It makes me mad when people blame other people for sending troops over there. They are over there to protect those foolish people who say that stuff.
They allow us to be able to worship who we want and dress how we want.
We take stuff like that for granted because we really always had that. Freedom does not come free.
I have been to the Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C. and it really made me realize that is really serious and a lot of men and women risked their lives. All the memorials affect my mindset and how I pictured Veterans Day. The emotions of the people at the memorials showed me that a lot have been affected by casualties and wars.
Some people don't know what it feels like to say bye to a loved one and not know if you will get to see them again. If people were to feel how it feels, the world would be a different place. Veterans Day would be more popular than Thanksgiving or Halloween.
Some people don't realize that if it wasn't for the veterans and the soldiers right now we wouldn't be able to celebrate Halloween and Thanksgiving.
I have started to appreciate Veterans Day a lot more than I used to. Since my dad went to Iraq for the first time Veterans Day is probably one of my favorite holidays. I try not to worry a lot because I know God is in control.
God Bless America!