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May 28, 2019 

Grace Blevins

Grace Blevins, a fifth grader at Oak Woods School, was announced the winner of a Memorial Day essay contest during a community celebration on May 27, 2019. 

The contest was initiated by J.C. Campbell, a veteran and community leader who felt it was important for students to commemorate armed services personnel who have died in service to the nation. 

The program objective for the fifth grade competition states, “Many students think Memorial Day is simply a day to ‘celebrate’ a day off from school.  They don’t realize it is instead a day to ‘commemorate’ or remember those who have lost their lives in all American Wars.  The objective of this contest is to help students understand the true meaning of this day.” 

The text of Blevins’ essay entitled “What Memorial Day Means to Me” was: 

When people hear the words ‘Memorial Day,’ they often think, “Hey, no school!” or “Yeah, barbeque!” It’s actually a very important holiday.  But do you know what it really means?

Memorial Day is a holiday to honor and commemorate those in the Armed Forces who were lost in the service of their country. It originally began as Decoration Day, when people would go to loved ones’ graves and decorate them with wreaths and flowers. Today, the president makes a speech at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which honors those who died on foreign ground and never came home to their families. 

During both world wars, Memorial Day brought our nation closer together than ever before. Our country bonded over the thousands of friends and family that had lost their lives for our country. 

I have always had a soft spot for this holiday, as my great-grandfather served in the Navy. While on a ship, his leg was cut off from the knee down by a large chain, and they couldn’t save it, so they threw it overboard. He always tried to see the good though, and when they tossed it over he said, “Hey! That was a perfectly good shoe!” Unfortunately, he was dismissed from service after that. Some soldiers, like my great-grandfather, lost limbs, while others lost their lives for our country.

A famous American spy named Nathan Hale once spoke these words, “My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country”.  I believe that this statement applies to all the veterans who have served in our military forces. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that when Memorial Day arrives, have your barbeque, go swimming with your friends, but most importantly, remember those who lived and died for our proud nation’s freedom. 

Blevins was one of five Granbury ISD campus winners vying for the top prize.  Others were:  Chase Cantrell, Acton Elementary School; Emily Contino, Baccus Elementary School; Emelyn Hughes, STEAM Academy at Mambrino; Kaylee Jackson, Brawner Intermediate School. 

The contest followed state curriculum guidelines regarding fifth grade citizenship, which specifies that students understand “important symbols, customs, celebrations, and landmarks that represent American beliefs and principles and contribute to our national identity” and “describe the origins and significance of national celebrations such as Memorial Day.”