Sisters veterans presented a check for $100 to Ashlynn Moffat as part of her award for winning the local Patriotís Pen essay contest. photo by Jerry Baldock
Americaís gift to my generation ó†by Ashlynn Moffat, Patriotís Pen Essay Contest Winner
America has given my generation numerous gifts and all of them are significant to me. One of the gifts that is the most important to me is the protection that America provides for us. Without America's stability I don't know where my generation would be today.
Awful things happen in the world, that's why we need the police, firefighters, and the military. If you travel anywhere else in the world you will notice that compared to them we are very protected and is a true gift given to us at a price. Everyday hundreds of people die so that one day we could walk outside and be safe.
If you went to Iraq you wouldn't even be safe enough to walk outside. Sometimes we take these amazing privileges for guaranteed. I think that it's important to be thankful for those things. This year we had all sorts of devastating things happen in America. The wildfires, hurricanes, and war between countries. Now imagine all of this things without the firefighters who fought the fires, and the police who evacuated people in danger.
There are people who wish that they could live in America just so that their families could have safety from all of the bad things that are happening in this world as we speak. Every single freedom that we have was bought at a price by people who were willing to give their life up for our generations safety.
Protection is so powerful and we can wake up and either chose to whine that we have to go to school or we can chose to thank the people who gave up everything so that we could go to school.
Thank you America, for putting others before yourself and sacrificing everything so that we could one day see a hope and a future that will last forever.
"How many people want to do something bigger than yourself?" Brett Miller asked an assemblage of Sisters Middle School (SMS) students last week. Hands shot up across the SMS cafetorium.
"There's a lot of volunteers in here," Miller said.
Miller, a wounded U.S. Army veteran and founder of the Sisters-based nonprofit Warfighter Outfitters made a strong connection with the young students as the featured speaker at the school's Veterans Day observances on Thursday, November 9.
Miller described his injuries from an IED blast that put him in the hospital for three years.
"It's a long time to sit in a hospital and think, 'What am I going to do?'" he recalled.
He described getting a bike and riding it around the hospital with doctors chasing him, which drew a big laugh from the students. He described being angry when he got to ride outside and was passed by a little girl.
"I was very angry because my life wasn't going the way I planned it," he said.
But, he said, he decided to use his anger positively, to motivate him to recover.
"I used it," he said. "I wanted to get better. I wanted to do things."
One of those things was to participate with a record-setting team of disabled veterans in the bicycle race Ride Across America. He described falling asleep on the bike in the middle of the endurance race and crashing into the bushes.
It was that kind of storytelling that connected Miller with his audience, who asked a lot of questions about the cycle race.
Miller gently drove home a message, saying that he learned that the best way to help himself was to help others. In that way, the sense of mission, of doing something bigger than yourself, lasts well beyond service in the military - and applies in any walk of life.
The observances also featured the local veterans color guard presentation of the winner of the local Patriot's Pen essay contest, Ashlynn Moffat.
The Sisters Middle School Concert Band, directed by Tyler Cranor, provided a stirring musical interlude, and Max Springer put a coda on the observances by playing "Taps."