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June 2, 2022

Claire Burrell, a fifth grader at Brawner Elementary School, was announced the winner of a Memorial Day essay contest during a community celebration on May 30, 2022, at the Jim Burks Firefighters Memorial Park.

The contest is named in memory of J.C. Campbell, a veteran and community leader who initiated the program to encourage 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 Burrell’s essay entitled “What Memorial Day Means to Me” was:

Memorial Day is the day that we celebrate and give thanks to veterans that served in the military to protect us and our country. Some of them even gave their lives to protect us. Some communities celebrate with parades, BBQs and fireworks. People will decorate fallen veteran's gravesites with flowers and American flags.

When I lived in Nebraska, I would go to my great grandparent's gravesites with my grandparents every Memorial Day. We would put flowers and flags on their graves and thank them for their service. We would also pack a picnic to eat while we were there.

I celebrate Memorial Day to give thanks to veterans and fallen veterans that served in the military to keep us safe. Four of my great grandpas, my grandpa and my dad all served in the military. They are my heroes and I will be forever grateful for their service and for protecting our freedoms.

Thanks to them we have more freedom in our country than any other country. We have the privilege to act freely and live our lives the way we want to. It also gives us the freedom to be who we want to be and be ourselves. Their sacrifices have given us so many opportunities, chances at having a better life and living out our dreams. We will continue to pray for those that have served and also their families.

Burrell was one of five Granbury ISD campus winners vying for the top prize.  Others were:  Virgil Farris, STEAM Academy at Mambrino; Sofia Ferguson, Acton Elementary School; Breyer Schenewark, Oak Woods School; Rainn Sherwood, Baccus Elementary 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.”