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Emma Rose Vincent Named Winner of Voice of Democracy Speech Writing Contest
Darren Doyle, story and photos:
Edmonson County High School students, faculty, staff, and administrators, along with dozens of veterans and their families attended the annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the high school.
Today's guest speaker was Edwin Vincent, retired USAF Chief Master Sergeant (E-9) and veteran of the Gulf War who also serves as local VFW Post 6937 Commander.
Emma Rose Vincent, a sophomore at ECHS, was named winner of this year's Voice of Democracy speech writing competition, winning $500 and was one of today's speakers along with second place winner Keylee Saling, who won $300, and third place winner Ava Kate Lich, who was awarded $200.
Vincent discussed the differences that many Americans may have, including the current sport controversy over kneeling for the National Anthem, but the end result has always resulted in unity.
"Though the idea of the challenges we face are too great for us to meet, history has taught us that our Nation finds a way to succeed," she said. "We should not lose hope in our future, regardless of what we see on the news. It is not in our people's DNA to accept failure, and that which divides us is not greater than what unites us."
Chief Mstr. Sgt. (Ret) Vincent discussed "guilt" felt by veterans in a number of ways, including: those who joined but never fought, those that were called to battle but never saw intense action, those who served in battle but were unharmed, those who fought and served, while their comrades did not.
He spoke about how difficult it is sometimes to respond when someone thanks him for his service. He said he and veterans everywhere didn't serve for thanks or recognition, but because it was their duty. He also challenged the students in the gym today.
"One day, you're going to be called on to defend this country. I don't know when, I don't know what the circumstances will be, but it will be your turn," he said. "Don't disrespect us, don't disrespect these men down here, and don't disrespect this country. Because one day...one day, you'll have to defend it. We want you to be prepared and be ready for that, and be willing to do it."
Vincent also thanked Bank of Edmonson County for hosting the veterans breakfast and ECHS as a whole for always hosting the ceremony and being "a class act." He also thanked the Voice of Democracy sponsors, who gave a total amount of $1000 for the winners, which included Gravil Funeral Home, PVA Kyle White, and County Clerk Kevin Alexander.
All veterans in attendance were recognized in addition to those that fought in the following wars or conflicts: WWII: 2, Korean War: 4, Vietnam: 18, Gulf War: 5, and one who served in the current War on Terror. Two female veterans were also recognized.