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Wallace High School chooses VOD winners PDF Print E-mail

The Voice of Democracy Contest that is sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars involves writing and recording an essay on a given theme.  This year’s theme was “Does America Still Have Heroes?” 

The English teacher from Wallace High School, Mrs. Fowler, always assigns her students to write an essay on the given topic.  This year’s winners were the following:  third place, Josi Hasenauer; second place, John Paul Lempke; and first place, Lane Swedberg.  

Lane won the district and will compete Jan. 30 in Kearney at the state level. The following is his speech:  

Voice Of Democracy 2009

Lane Swedberg

A man saves a little girl from getting hit by a car. A child has won more acting awards than any other adult.   A woman won six gold medals at the Olympic games. A veteran risks his life for the country he loves.  Which one of these people is a hero?   Is your hero a person who you look up to or a person that saved your life so you are still able to look up?  Is your hero a sports star or a veteran who was awarded a purple star? Are there even such people as heroes? 

I believe that heroes come in all shapes and sizes and from all places, but does America still have heroes? To answer this question, we must first find out what a hero truly is.

Is a hero someone who saves someone’s life or a person that shares their time and money to help others? The dictionary tells us that a hero is a person who is admired or idolized for courage. Does someone have to be courageous to become a hero? 

I believe that a hero is a person who has sacrificed for the benefit of others. I also believe that this is the definition of a veteran. American men and women have sacrificed their lives for the lives of millions across the nation. 

Our forefathers gave us the freedom of speech, the freedom to worship freely, and so many other freedoms we don’t consider as rights or privileges because we are so used to the life we live in America.   Without the veterans’ willingness to serve, we wouldn’t have many of these rights and privileges that we overlook every day of our lives.

I think many of our heroes today are the men and women who are fighting and who fought in the past.

When I asked a group of elementary students who their hero was, most students answered Superman or Batman. One student told me that his hero was his grandpa; however, this student never had the opportunity to meet his grandpa because his grandpa died fighting for the country that he loved. That really made me think. This child’s hero wasn’t a person that could fly or a person who wore a cape, but a person who served and sacrificed his life so one day we would live in a country where we don’t have to fear roadside bombings or fighting within our country. 

Imagine what it would be like to live in a country where war is in the midst. The people of that country wake up with the horror of knowing that every breath they take could be their last. 

I am very thankful that I live without this fear, and every American should remember to be grateful to those men and women who fought for this country. Does this mean that only people who have done heroic things can become heroes? I believe that there is a hero inside every single person on this earth. You just have to look inside and find the true hero in you. You may never save a child, but you can make a difference in that child’s life just by listening and becoming a model citizen.

My personal heroes are the men and women who served to protect the United States of America. I believe a true American hero is a person who stood at the frontline of battle, bullets flying by them, sacrificing their life for you, your neighbor, and for me; a soldier proudly saluting the stars and stripes of the country he loves; those in the military, both men and women wearing the cameo suit with pride; and the soldiers having the guts to go and shield our country from a supreme force.

I thank American veterans for sacrificing their lives for my life. Without our heroes, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to make choices or live in a house with the family that I love. 

These heroes have given so much and there is no possible way to express gratitude to the veterans of the United States of America. 

When you see a veteran, stop and shake their hand and thank them with all of your heart. They have done so much for you and the country where we live freely. The least we can do as citizens of this proud nation is to say thank you. Thank the heroes that fought for the land of the free and the home of the brave.