In fifth grade, as an assignment, I was given an army and told to send them to war. I said, “But, who are these people? How do I make sure they are safe? I don’t want them to die for nothing.” 

Everyone else in our class sent their soldiers to war without a second thought, and I didn’t know what to do. My mom told me that those were the right questions to ask, but that sometimes, war is the only option.

Unfortunately, many authority figures don’t think about these kinds of things because they have never experienced war themselves. I think this is abominable. Soldiers are not just pawns in a politician’s game. Every soldier has a family and a life back home. When politicians make decisions, too often they do not think about the human cost of war.

On Veterans Day, we recognize veterans who made it out alive and veterans who gave their lives for our country. We must honor them for their service. They chose to protect our country, and fight for it. In order to properly thank them, we need to remember their stories. 

We all should find a veteran — a family member, a neighbor, anyone who has served — and listen to their stories. These stories must be heard by future generations to preserve their memory and to remember the heroic role they played in earning and keeping our freedom.

We must always remember them not as pawns but as real people living real lives. 

Charlotte Saxl

Grade 8