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Four Wynn Students Earn Privilege Of Laying Wreath At Arlington National Cemetery

Mar 26, 2015 02:05PM ● By Bill Gilman

Jenna Wentworth, Marina Nelson, Delaney Jackson and Lauren Eysallene of the Wynn School were selected to participate in a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Four 8th grade students at the Wynn Middle School will have the unique opportunity and privilege to lay a wreath at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.
Lauren Eysallene, Delaney Jackson, Marina Nelson and Jenna Wentworth will participate in the solemn ceremony during the Wynn School 8th Grade Trip to Washington D.C. in April. Alex Sousa was selected as an alternate.
Wynn School teacher Michael Gillespie organized this year's trip and also made arrangements for a delegation of Wynn students to participate in the wreath laying ceremony.
An essay contest was conducted to choose the four students to participate in the ceremony. The theme of the contest was the significance of wreath laying ceremony and participation in the ceremony.

Below are three of the winning essay entries.

"A Tribute to Those Who Have Made the Ultimate Sacrifice"
By Jenna Wentworth

It is important to honor those who have risked their lives for our freedom. These soldiers are brave and patriotic. They do not have to, but they choose to spend years and years training, fighting, and hoping, wishing and praying. It means so much for the soldiers to receive gifts, rewards, or even just a simple, "Thank you for your service." It is extremely important to honor those who have served or are currently serving.

  I would be a good representative of our school for the wreath laying ceremony for many reasons. First of all, my friends and relatives have served. My grandfather served in the Korean War as a Military Policeman. My other grandfather was a fighter pilot in the Vietnam War and my great-grandfather served in World War I. Studying my family history and talking to my grandparents has helped me gain a lot of knowledge about the challenges of war. I also did research and learned much about those that have served our country. In addition to having knowledge about our veterans, I also have found ways to give back. My family  has brought to my town an organization called "Treats for Troops."  We collect candy and supplies, bring the boxes to a meeting place, pack them up and ship them to our military serving overseas. These courageous soldiers receive these care packages filled with deodorant, toothbrushes, gum, candy, socks, cotton swabs, razors and more. Lastly, I have seen the Changing of the Guard.  I traveled to Washington D.C. this summer and, after walking through Arlington National Cemetery, experienced the Changing of the Guard. It was emotionally moving. Before watching the Changing of the Guard, my parents taught me about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It would be an incredible honor to lay a wreath on the tomb. Laying the wreath on the tomb would be my way of thanking our soldiers for their sacrifice.

"Wreath Laying Ceremony Essay"
By Delaney Jackson

The wreath laying ceremony in Washington DC is very important to the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces.  We honor them by placing a wreath by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  Being United States citizens, we should honor the men and women who have given their lives to protect our freedom.  As young children we should look up to them as heroes, and maybe someday want to become them.  For those who have served we say “Thank You”.  It is very important for us to honor the soldiers and veterans because of the sacrifices made by them and their families.  My connection to the wreath laying ceremony is both of my grandfathers.  My grandfathers did serve in the United States Army.  My grandfather Robert died 3 years ago and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  For me to participate in the wreath laying ceremony would be a touching event for my family and me.  This would honor him and his service to our country. Even though I may not be able to visit his grave that day, I know he would be watching from above.  When my father and grandmother placed him in the Columbarium everyone’s eyes were watering.  The ceremony that was performed for him was truly amazing.  The cemetery honored him in the best way possible for what he has done for our country.  I knew that he was watching us that day, and would be watching over all of us from that day forward.  I respect the hallowed ground upon which we would walk and visit that day.  Being a part of a family whose members have served in the Armed Forces I truly understand the sacrifices they have made and make every day to keep me safe.  “All gave some and some gave all” is a saying that means a lot to me.  It means that the price of freedom is never free.

"Honoring Our Soldiers"
By Marina Nelson

Our soldiers give service to our country without a second thought. They aid our country and foreign countries and often times get very little in return. They suffer from post-traumatic stress and contemplate—if not go through—suicide attempts. According to “”, 6,802 American troops died from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as of April 2014. This is why it is so important to honor every single soldier and let them hear our words. They are respected and appreciated. We are thankful for their service and their sacrifice every day. And I, personally, am so proud of every man and woman who has the courage to fight when others cannot. 

My grandfather was in the Navy. He doesn’t talk about it much, except to compare the food. I am very lucky that he is okay, and he has not been changed too much by what he went through. But I know that there are others who are changed. Who will never be the same...and who have passed away. I would be a good representative of the school because I am aware of these things. It is not because I want to “show off” in front of my classmates, but I truly want this opportunity to show how much I care. How honored I am to say that I belong to this country. Because this is a country of brave, strong people who are willing to give up their lives to fight for justice. This is why I would be grateful to represent my school, my family, my friends, and my country at the Arlington National Cemetery. Our heroes deserve to be represented.

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