HARTFORD – Shayna Morgan Goldberg, an eighth grader from Stamford, has been named winner of a statewide contest which asked students to write an essay addressing “Why Should We Honor Veterans?” The 2011 Connecticut Veterans Parade essay contest is presented by The Navy League of the United States – Hartford Council and the State of Connecticut Department of Veterans Affairs.
As the First Place winner, Shayna, a student at Turn of River Middle School in Stamford, will ride in a vehicle in the Connecticut Veterans Parade on Sunday, Nov. 6 at 12:30 p.m. in downtown Hartford. In recognition of her achievement, she also will receive an American flag that has flown over the State Capitol Building. The parade is the largest Veterans’ Day parade in New England and one of the largest in the country.
Shayna is the daughter of Todd Goldberg and Lisa Mallenbaum-Goldberg, chairperson of the Stamford Jewish Arts and Film Festival of Fairfield County and a former board member of the Stamford Jewish Community Center.
Shayna and two runners-up were also honored at a public ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 4 p.m. in the Connecticut State Capitol Building’s Hall of Flags. They were joined by officials from the Navy League of the United States and Commissioner Linda S. Schwartz of the Connecticut Department of Veterans’ Affairs. During the awards ceremony, Shana read her essay, which is featured here:
“Why Should We Honor Veterans?”
By Shana Morgan Goldberg
“When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?”
Honoring veterans has always been a tradition for our country. It is our way to say ‘thank you’ to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line to allow us to live safely in a free nation. Veterans sacrifice their own lives and time at home for us, strangers, and for this country. They are most deserving of honor, sincere thanks and recognition. Hence, our gratitude should not “sleep,” but, rather, should thrive, like the Liberty Tree, defended by our veterans.
Imagine missing your child’s birth or spending Christmas across the seas. Imagine risking your life daily just so a person you have never met before can sleep at night. Imagine doing this by choice, fighting for a cause, and sacrificing your own desires. These are the sacrifices our veterans made for our nation. The least we can do is recognize their courage in doing so.
We sometimes take for granted all we are able to do and how we are able to live. We do not always take a step back, examine the big picture and see why we can live so freely. If we did, we would see the selfless people who go out and fight for our freedom on a daily basis. They put their own lives on hold, missing birthdays, holidays, births and time with their loved ones to make this a better world for all of us.
These true heroes should be shown how much we appreciate their valiant efforts and sacrifices. If they had not fought for our nation, we might not be standing here today. Without their efforts, this would not be the America we all know. We would not have the freedoms and luxuries we are accustomed to and we would not have the safety we are so lucky to possess. America would be forever altered.
We need to thank our veterans for giving us the country we are so lucky to have today. We must not just thank them for their triumphs but, also, remember and honor the losses. As they say “Freedom is never free.” They all deserve our respect, admiration, gratitude and honor. America truly is ‘the land of the free’ because of our brave veterans. So the next time you enjoy the shade of a tree, think about liberty, and thank a veteran.