Congratulations to Gabriella Dershem!

A huge congratulations goes out to junior Gabriella Dershem, whose VFW’s Voice of Democracy speech won 2nd place this weekend at the state level. Gabi received a $5,000 scholarship. If you can take the time, please read her attached speech, which focuses on the awareness of PSTD for America’s veterans. Again, congratulations, Gabi! The Miller City School District is incredibly proud of you.

American History: Our Hope For The Future

“My heart wept, as I stared at Old Glory, framed and resting in her folded perfection upon the lap of a local veteran who had recently lost his son to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My hope for our future began in this moment, when I realized that not only had this veteran lost his son, but also we as a nation had lost a brother. It was June 5, 2016, when this father got the call that his son who had served two tours in Iraq had lost his battle with PTSD. While talking with the father, one part of his story really struck my heart. After his son’s funeral, the men who had served with his son sat down with the fallen soldier’s sister and said, “Listen. Here are all ten of our numbers. You didn't lose a brother because you’ve gained all of us. Call us anytime you want.” This is my hope for the future: that when one man falls down, ten step up.

This idea of brotherhood is the backbone of our great country. No smart man ever said that they could conquer alone, but only that they could conquer together. Our land built upon the freedom of man is here today because of the selfless act of brotherhood. We are free because of men like George Washington,Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton and many more who decided to stand up and be a brother to their people. George Washington himself is the epitome of a selfless brother. He stepped down from office for the good of our nation because he understood that our great country is not a dictatorship. Even Martin Luther King Jr. said “We must learn to live together as brothers or we will perish as fools.” He understood that our nation could only thrive with brotherhood and the willingness of man to give of himself for others. We are called as American citizens to treat everyone with love and respect no matter what political party or ideals. This bond of brotherhood makes all men one. We are one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Brotherhood doesn’t have to be radical. Being a brother simply means giving of yourself. Volunteering, tutoring, or even just giving a person a compliment are simple ways we can be a brother. Imagine how much the world would change if everyone got a simple compliment every day. An important aspect of being a brother is communication. People not understanding how to communicate is a large contribution to the turmoil of our country. We need to learn how to voice our opinions in a healthy, loving way. We need to develop a language encompassing a voice of democracy and not a voice of intolerance and hate. This doesn’t mean tweeting or posting on Facebook. This means physically going out and talking to a human being. Problems are fixed when we address them in a constitutional manner. Problems are not fixed by kneeling for our national anthem. We should not take a knee but take a hand and place it on our hearts, saying “I’m proud to be an American.” As it says in The Book of Psalms, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity,”

At the end of my discussion with this father, he told me that right before his son was to be buried, men from his son’s unit asked if they could place their airborne wings on the casket. One by one the men went up to the casket and hit their airborne wings on the top of it. The last man hit his wing eight times, and when asked why he did that, he replied, “Your son is the eighth man we have lost from our unit from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” These fellow soldiers stepped up and acted as a brother for not only their fellow soldier, but also for his family. This is my hope for the future: that we can stand together as brothers under a great nation, and that when one man falls down, ten have the courage to step up.”
-Gabriella Dershem

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