The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 12, 2012

Kayla Johnson: ‘Defenders of freedom’

By Kayla Johnson
Special to The Globe

JOPLIN, Mo. — Kayla Johnson, Second place

Grade 9, Joplin High School

Parent, Jerry Johnson

Teacher, Linda Unser

How have veterans defended my freedom and liberty? Veterans have saved many lives, and they have defended liberty, safety, and most importantly, freedom everywhere in the world. I believe freedom is very important because without it, people have no say in anything in their lives. We continue to have the privileges we enjoy because our soldiers are fighting in parts of the world where freedom is being threatened.

Life has not always been the way it is today. For example, during World War II, our soldiers fought in Europe, Northern Africa and in the Pacific against dictators and tyrants who were trying to overrun countries and impose their political views on them. Even though there were very real threats to both our coastlines, these brave men were not fighting on our soil. Our enemies in World War II were very real. Similarly, the soldiers who fought in Korea and later in Vietnam knew the enemy; it was communism. They were fighting to protect the freedom of the Asian countries against its spread in that part of the world. In these wars, men and women made sacrifices to secure freedom for people who were defenseless.

Our world is very dangerous today. Unlike other wars, invisible enemies attack our institutions and threaten our way of life through acts of terrorism. Our soldiers are fighting around the world against those who would destroy our country. I feel safe and secure in my home, my community, and nation because of their bravery. Sometimes I feel sad that there are no ticker tape parades for these returning veterans. One way I can show my appreciation is to happily march in my high school band in our local Veterans Day parade.

Our veterans have been the champions of liberty and freedom in the world. Not everybody is capable of defending his or her own rights, so we have veterans who do it for us. They care enough about our country and way of life to do something incredibly brave for others.

I am very happy that there is a Veterans Day so we can thank these brave men and women for their help. Our veterans care so much that they protect people they don’t even know. They are the superheroes of this nation. They may not know everyone they protect, but everyone they protect knows them, and should thank them.