It has been a week of celebration. Not only did we have his eighth grade class over for a par-tay (Sidenote: The girls look like supermodels, the boys were awkward, but darling and this topic deserves a separate post), but Friday he received the amazing news that he was chosen to be one of four students to lay the wreath at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. You see, he is taking the patriotic-class trip to Washington D.C. at the end of the month. He entered an essay contest. The topic? "Why I want to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier."
God's perfect timing prevailed as Lucas was handed the topic of his essay in the midst of real life experience. Let me share it with you.
Arlington Essay ~ By Lucas ~ 2-28-2011
A few months ago my Mom sent me an email about Arlington National Cemetery. Unfamiliar with this historic place, I wanted to dive into learning more about it. This essay has provided me a chance to do just that. Learning that the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is guarded twenty- four/ seven, that the guards must be a certain height and waist size, and that this monument represents every soldier that has died in battle that couldn’t be identified or returned home, left me thinking about my veteran grandfather whom I called Grandpa Fish.
Grandpa Fish fought in the Vietnam War for eight months. He was part of the historic Battle of la Drang. A movie titled “We Were Soldiers” was created in 2002 which revealed this historic battle he fought in. Grandpa Fish rarely talked about his experiences in Vietnam. He did share that he had crashed three times in a helicopter, once in training and twice in battle. He said that while being in a Huey, they came upon heavy fire and he looked at the status lights at the front of the helicopter and they were all red. The helicopter went down; he jumped out, grabbed his M16, and landed on a cactus, only to be fired upon! Sadly he lost his best friend in this battle. Although I won’t go into details, I can say that it was a horrific memory for him.
Although my Grandpa Fish was not an unknown soldier, he sacrificed much for our country. About a year ago he was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was caused by exposure to Agent Orange during his time in war. He passed away six months later on July 3, 2010. I attended his soldier’s funeral in Fort Knox, Kentucky. He was honored with a 13 gun salute and a flag folding ceremony. My little brother and I were given a shell from the guns fired at the funeral and I treasure this token that reminds me of Grandpa Fish and his love for our country.
What would it mean to me to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? It would be a way to honor my Grandpa and those soldiers that were never identified. To lose a loved one is tough and to not receive the soldier’s body back from war would be unbearable. My heart breaks for those families, as I know the pain of losing my Grandpa. I can only imagine the painful loss that is represented at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It would be a privilege to pay tribute to all those who fought for our freedom by being chosen to lay the wreath.THE END
I am so very proud of you, my fourteen-year-old young man. Happy Birthday and God Bless you in this new year of amazing, wonderful YOU!