Caroline Vernon, a junior attending Patrick County High School, was among the first-place winners in the Virginia War Memorial’s 2019 Veterans Day Student Essay Contest.
The essay topic was “A Virginian Who Served in The Military in the 20th or 21st Century Who Inspired Me.”
Vernon’s essay profiled her brother, Justin Vernon.
“The amount of selflessness and courage required for this field is extremely high and not for just anyone. I cannot imagine leaving my family for months at a time to go to a foreign land. Veterans give their lives every day so that we as Americans can live in peace and freedom,” Vernon said of her brother, who served as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal officer in Iraq.
“Like all veterans of the United States, Justin has a heart of gold. He has always believed in me and everyone around him. Being in the military is not just any job. It is one of the most important occupations that exist in America and demands strength, integrity, and a passion for what you love the most, our country,” Vernon said as she read aloud her winning essay as part of the Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony.
Vernon participated in the Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony held Nov. 11 at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond. She also was congratulated by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who was the keynote speaker for the annual program.
Lisa Belcher is Vernon’s teacher.
The annual contest is open to middle and high school age students throughout Virginia in public or private schools or homeschooled.
The student writers of the winning essay in each category receive a cash prize of $250 and were invited to read their essay aloud during the 2019 Commonwealth’s Veterans Day Ceremony. Their teachers were also invited to Richmond, and each received a $100 prize to be used for classroom supplies.
All of the first place and runner-up essays are posted online on the Virginia War Memorial Foundation website at www.vawarmemorial.org/learn/contests-scholarships/essays/.