Letter to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Editor's Note: This is a corrected version of a letter that ran in the April 12 Tribune.

To the Editor:

The Tribune recently printed an article on the Voice of America contest. This brought back vivid memories to me and I am sure to others in the community.

In 1946-47 shortly after VE Day when Europe was liberated from Germany and VJ day when the Pacific was liberated from Japan, there were many service men and women who were lucky to make it back home. They did not want their time and service to be in vain. They were proud to have served their country and they wanted everyone to remember that we are blessed to live in a democracy, what it stands for and preserve it.

So the Veterans of Foreign Wars Voice of Democracy contest was started in 1947. Emphasis on our democracy was very important at that time, and at this time it is even more so. It is being threatened in many different ways and from many different directions -- even from within.

Democracy has been defined in many ways, but maybe the simple definition in Webster's Dictionary is best.

It says that it is a government by the people and ruled by the majority; a government in which the supreme power is invested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation involving periodically held free elections; and it is with the absence of hereditary of arbitrary class distinctions or privileges. The good life we live today is due to the fact that we live in a democracy.

With a modest beginning, the contest has grown. Knowing that 48,891 essays on Democracy were written by our young people this year is very rewarding to all veterans. I am proud that our post, 1165, has sponsored this very worthwhile program. Post 1165 helps out with many community projects. Anyone who is a veteran and not a member of the VFW should consider joining this post.

Our local student, Theresa Schafer, won first place in the VFW second district finals, as well as the Kansas state finals where there were 365 essays in contention. Considering the fact that there were 46,891 essays written, it was a great honor for her to win eighth place in the national competition in Washington, D.C. She received an all-expense paid, four-day trip to Washington, D.C., and a tour of interesting sights. Her scholarship winnings will be around $5,000. In addition, she will receive an all-expense paid trip to the American Leadership Summit at Valley Forge, Pa., on June 16.

The very important part is that the VFW will be providing $2,238,000 in scholarships throughout the country this year alone.

Post 1165 recommends that many of our young students write essays on our democracy next year.

Gene DuVall

Fort Scott