Local 6th grader wins Texas VFW essay contest

Editor: Shannon Cottongame

February 2, 2022

Karlie Barnes


Lake Whitney Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 12176 is proud to announce that a young lady from Whitney who participated in the recent Patriot’s Pen essay scholarship contest won first place for the State of Texas out of over 4,900 entries in grades six through eight.


Karlie Barnes is the 11-year-old daughter of a Whitney veteran who wrote her essay titled “Remember” for the youth essay contest on how to be a good American. Her essay won first place at the local level, first place at the district level then went on to win first place for the entire State of Texas.


Karlie was invited along with her family to attend the Texas State VFW Mid-Winter Conference in Corpus Christi, where she was presented a plaque, a $1,000 scholarship and asked to read her essay in front of the Texas State Veterans of Foreign Wars members, the auxiliary, guests and their families aboard the USS Lexington Saturday, January 22.


As the state winner, her essay will be judged at the VFW’s national level representing Whitney and the state in the coming months.


The following is the essay written by a remarkable and humble 11-year-old sixth grader whose perspective of life and history is wise beyond her years:


How Can I Be A Good
American? Remember


The question of “How can I be a good American” can be answered with one word. Remember. Remember what my freedom cost and remember to appreciate it.


Every morning when I am getting ready for school, brushing my hair and my teeth, I can hear the brake release on my dad’s wheelchair. That sound is something so familiar that I can pick it out in a grocery store several aisles over during the busiest time of day. That sound happens because after surviving the war, my daddy came home in a wheelchair with legs that did not work the way they did when he left. Being a good American is remembering that every day, talking about the value of his sacrifice and remembering to tell him that he is valued.

My daddy tells me often that learning about history is important because if we do not remember how we got to this time then we won’t appreciate the cost that it came with. I have been learning more about American history this school year and there are so many things that I get to have freely and easily like clothes, food and water, and more that came at a cost at one time. Now when my family goes shopping or goes on adventures, we like to look up the history of things related to that so we can know more about it and so we can remember.

Remembering, to me, means a lot more several times a year. My daddy was in New York when 9/11happened many years before I was born so we remember that day for what happened, what came from it and what we became as country after it. The day my daddy became paralyzed is another day that we remember. We remember it as a day that the plan for his life changed and was given a new purpose because we believe in my house that everything has a purpose for the Glory of our Savior.

My family has taught me that even though we have a very different life because of where we came from, it is important to remember that all families are like this. Every family has a story of where they came from and how they made it to here and being a good American means remembering that every day

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