Barnegat VFW Salutes Essay Contest Winners

Dec 13, 2017
Courtesy of: Barnegat Township

VFW Post 1092 in Barnegat Township has presented certificates to local winners of the Voice of Democracy and Patriots Pen essay contests.

“Our Hope for the Future” was the theme of the Voice of Democracy contest, and the winner was Justin M. Bach. Brigid Harrington took second place while Anthony Forte won third.

“America’s Gift to My Generation” was the theme for the Patriots Pen. First-place winner was Emma J. Carman. Lexy McGinnis and John Panico placed second and third, respectively.

Jake Taylor, post junior commander and contest coordinator, said the Voice of Democracy contest is for high school students while the Patriots Pen is open to sixth- and seventh-graders. A total of approximately 70 students submitted entries.

“We thank the superintendent, Ms. (Karen) Wood, and the school district for their support,” said Taylor. “Patriotism is alive and well in the Barnegat schools system.” 

The award presentations took place at the Dec. 5 township committee meeting, in which the first-place winners read their essays.

Carman said a free education is one of the best gifts because without education, “people might not go to college and cause them to not get a high-paying job. Without an education, people can end up homeless or be without jobs.”

She said another gift is freedom.

“As Americans, we get freedom of speech, freedom of religion and freedom to vote, and we have the freedom to not join the armed forces if we don’t like to. But not all are as fortunate as in some countries, you don’t have freedom of religion or who to vote for or freedom of speech. In China, if you speak out against the government, they put you in jail. Imagine having to live through that.”

Bach wrote that despite the freedoms the country offers, the future “is sadly slipping away.”

“As Americans, we must put our differences aside and work together,” he said. “What catches my attention is the division in politics. While we have a right to disagree, with both sides being ignorant and stubborn, we will never improve. Sometimes it’s Democrats vs. Republicans, or Republicans vs. Democrats. Why can’t we think of ourselves as just Americans and come together as one nation?”

Bach also wrote that veterans “who fought for our country” are being neglected.

“It pains me to see homeless veterans who are cold, hungry, dehydrated and penniless suffering without a place to call home,” he said. “Why don’t we cut funding for illegal immigrants and put them toward our own veterans? There is no excuse for this.” —E.E.

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