Post Commander William Jones hosting Post 609’s local essay winners.
Photo by Vernon Miles.
What does it mean to be patriotic?
Alexandria’s veterans and school children sat together for a barbecue lunch to discuss life, school, and the nature of patriotic service.
At a special ceremony in the Veterans of Foreign War Post 609’s outpost on March 10, local veterans honored children from across the region who wrote into the 2017 Voice of Democracy contest. The Post 609 chose winners from among the local submissions, awarding $200 to the first place winners, $150 to the second place winners, and $100 to third place winners. With all of the winners, their families, and veterans into a room at the caretaker home in Alexandria’s National Cemetery, the first place winners read their entries.
Grace Salmon, an 11th grader at T.C. Williams High School, read an essay about the value of the flag, referencing a time when her classmates stayed seated during the pledge of allegiance in protest to the death of Freddie Gray, killed by Baltimore police officers who were found not guilty in 2016. Salmon said she respected her peers and their right to protest, but that despite admonitions she stood for the pledge of allegiance anyway.
Alexia De Costa, a student from Queen of Apostles, won first place for the younger grade level group. De Costa’s essay centered on how anyone in the United States can aspire to any goal and have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.