second requirement. I ‘rented’ my sister’s
microphone from her, and plunged in. I
learned a few things:
• Patience is crucial!
• Be as expressive as you can be.
• Divide it up into small chunks of recording. That way if you stumble over
a word, you’re okay.
• And . . . re-listen to your voice reading
the words, until you are satisfied.
I was able to find the local post I
should submit to by going to the VFW
site and typing in my zip code. Type in
your zip code and I’ll bet you’ll find one
just a few miles away. I was anxious and
driving my sister crazy talking about the
contest. But I was contacted eleven days
after the contest closed, announcing I
had won first place! I was invited to an
awards program and ice cream social on
Pearl Harbor Day.
There were a few representatives of the
local VFW and Ladies Auxiliary up at the
front of the auditorium. The announcer
introduced the program, and then the
chaplain started off with a prayer to God.
Next we said the Pledge of Allegiance
with our hands over our hearts. And then
they called off names. Not many winners
were actually in attendance. Each individual grade group had their picture taken, and then began reading the Voice of
Democracy participants. Each one stood
at the right of the podium, until everyone had been called and a group picture
had been taken. My name was last. I was
supposed to read my essay aloud, and I
gripped the podium for a long moment,
wishing my temples would quit pounding. Then I started to read.
I appreciated then, the requirement to
record your essay and submit the CD or
tape recording with the paper copy. I’d
read it so many times, I practically knew
it by heart. It was helpful for me to make
eye contact with the audience as I spoke,
like a news broadcaster—down at the text
and then back up.
Then it was over.
I had a great experience with the Voice
of Democracy program, even if my essay
doesn’t go on through the other levels.
It was wonderful to meet veterans there
that were supporting the children of the
community. It’s amazing that they will
take so much time out of their lives to
coordinate these events, and even pay for
one high school student out of each state
to go to Washington D.C. from February 28th to March 4th, and have one student out of all 50 states receive a $30,000
In return, we should be willing to do
something too. Maybe call ahead to our
local posts and offer to help coordinate
events, clean, or even just listen when a
veteran has something to say. I was im-
pressed that veterans and their wives who
have already been through so much, are
still educating me and every other child
across the nation, about democracy, lib-
erty, and the protection of Almighty God.
I would like to sincerely thank all the
veterans who have not only protected
America, but offered me such an oppor-
tunity! Try helping your veterans; try en-
tering their contests! Look at: www.vfw
Cassandra Barthuly is in the ninth grade,
and homeschooled near the magnificent
Columbia River. She loves reading historical fiction, visiting the library, and
swimming. She is currently publishing a
newspaper set in the 1930s-40s, and writing a historical novel set during the Civil
War. Cassandra plans a career as a writer/
Would you like to teach history, writing, biblical
values, community service and lessons that will
shape your children?
Do you ever wish that you could give your children a love of history; that they
might become really interested in the unparalleled story of America? How about
being spurred on to write at new levels of excellence? You don’t need to sign up
for an expensive class, travel across the country or even your state . . . what if you
could do all of this right in your hometown?
You can—right at your local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).
Our Veterans are living history books of the wars that have shaped us as a nation. Wars that defined our values and goals. War kept us an independent republic: if our soldiers hadn’t fought in the Revolutionary War, we might be governed
by England today. The Axis would probably have control of the world. Veterans
are some of the most important citizens in America. So . . . where do you find
one? Veterans are all around us! There are veterans of World War II, Vietnam, Korea, the Gulf War, even our recent War on Terror. There are thousands of ‘posts’
in America: places where Veterans of Foreign Wars congregate, serve the community and host events. Go to this link and type in your zip code. I bet you’ll find
a local post just a few miles away!
We should volunteer our services as small thanks for all the veterans have done
for us, people we have never even met. That might mean cleaning the local VFW
hall, helping to coordinate an event, or just listening when they have something
to say. And you know something else? Veterans are our best instructors in liberty
and democracy available . . . history as seen through the eyes of those that lived it.
The Veterans and the VFW Posts across this America of ours continue to
serve—in ways big and small! Did you know that the Veterans of Foreign Wars
host writing contests based on patriotic themes? They do! They encourage our
children to excel, to aim high, to embrace and value our freedoms. They sponsor
contests to make young people think and define liberty. This kind of writing also
instills a respect and a gratitude for veterans. Who better to educate them about
these things than the men and women who invested their blood into the definition of democracy?
Check out this link to find your local VFW and view their writing contests for
all ages. I think you’ll be inspired to enter and have a greater respect for our nation and its’ soldiers who are still serving to educate a new generation—if we’ll
I came up with a hook
to draw in the judges,
and a plan for the